FERPA Compliance

Piazza Q&A Platform

At Piazza, we take students' privacy very seriously. Piazza’s Q&A platform is a free service that 2,000 Universities use across 90 countries with over 2M students. Universities have verified that Piazza’s Q&A platform facilitates compliance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations. But even more than that, we designed Piazza to create an environment where all students can feel comfortable participating because we identified the "fear of sounding dumb" as one of the key reasons students reject conventional forums and mailing lists.

With Piazza’s Q&A platform:

  • Students’ email addresses and course enrollment information are only accessible to instructors of the class.
  • A student can post so she remains anonymous to her classmates, or even to the instructor if the instructor allows that option.
  • Students may ask their instructors to enroll them in a class using a non-identifying e-mail address, and may use a pseudonym.

Piazza offers students more privacy and control than the mailing lists and forums commonly in use on campuses today. The proof of students' comfort with the tool is their level of engagement. Classes that use Piazza have higher rates of participation than classes that employ other solutions, precisely because the tool is designed around all students’ needs.

Piazza Network

The Piazza Network is a careers-oriented product. Students have the ability (but not the requirement) to opt-in to the Piazza Network (via an active opt-in selection process) as part of the Piazza sign up flow. Subsequent to opting in, students have the ability to opt-out at any time.

Should they opt-in, the Piazza Network enables students and employers to connect. Students can contact employers directly, interact with content that employers have created for them, and also search for students and alumni with similar (or different) backgrounds and experiences to explore career opportunities and career guidance. The Piazza Network also enables employers to search for students that might be good fits for their diverse opportunities. Employers can search based on information that students fill out directly in their Piazza profile (graduation year, major, awards, job experience, etc) and information students choose to share from Piazza Q&A. Opted-in students can always control what specific information is and is not shared with employers. No class content is ever shared with employers— just metadata on the class (academic term, class number/title, role [TA vs student]).

Learn more about the Piazza Network here and about our student signup flow here.

School Agreements

We understand that schools have needs to ensure students’ protection and in doing so, they wish to enter into formal agreements with any third party educational services.

We at Piazza take our obligations to our community of students, professors, and institutions of higher education very seriously. We cherish and safeguard the privacy of our community - and have always built and upheld those protections.

We are fully committed to entering into no cost contracts with universities that protect students, professors, and the institutions including FERPA, accessibility, and more.

As a free service, and with over 2,000 Universities using Piazza, we do have to think long and hard about how to engage with one off requests for expensive and bespoke contracts.

After working with a handful of schools to understand the surface areas of what needs to be covered in a contract, we saw what we expected: that our current practice and policy was on par with what universities needed. It then became an issue of specifically having a legally binding agreement that protected the universities, professors, and students.

Based on these conversations and executed agreements, we offer two straightforward options to universities who wish to get a formal agreement in place:

  1. You have your own FERPA addendum or contract addendum that is 1-2 pages that reference our TOS and add some specific reassurances that supersede any other terms. This may be the fastest option as it is authored by the university and covers the specific concerns.
  2. Otherwise we have created a canonical agreement that we offer to all schools. We are of course, open to minor changes that accommodate the spirit of the contract but feel we have covered all the major areas. Sticking with this template should enable us to keep Piazza Q&A a free service.

Email us at team@piazza.com if you wish to engage in a contract.

For more information about user privacy on Piazza, read our Privacy Policy.