FERPA Compliance

Piazza Q&A Platform

At Piazza, we take students' privacy very seriously. Piazza’s Q&A platform is a free service that 1500 Universities use across 90 countries with over 1.3M 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.

We believe 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 Careers

Piazza Careers is a separate product, and is entirely “opt-in”. Piazza careers helps students and potential employers connect. It is designed to help students with the transition from University to their career. A goal of Piazza Careers is democratize access to career opportunities. Through Piazza careers, companies are able to reach students at more Universities. If students elect to opt-in, then they consent to share information with companies. Students may opt out at any time.

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 1500 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.