Data Access Policy

April 2024

Access to Miami University Institutional Data

Miami University’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE) grants access to institutional data to those members of the campus community requiring data for specific university business purposes.

Miami University does not provide institutional data to support faculty or student academic research projects. When faculty or administrators are performing research on behalf of an academic division or department, OIRE or divisional data analysts may provide relevant aggregate data or anonymized data sets.

Additionally, IRB approval of a research project does not imply that researchers have approval to receive and use institutional data about campus constituencies.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

FERPA is a federal law that governs how higher education institutions manage and disclose student educational records. As an institution that receives federal funding, Miami University is obliged to adhere to FERPA requirements.

Under FERPA, a school generally may not disclose PII (personal identifiable information) from an eligible student’s education records to a third party unless the eligible student has provided prior written consent. Even with the prior written consent of an eligible student, a school is not required by FERPA to disclose PII from education records to third parties.

FERPA does permit the disclosure of student education records without student consent to university officials with a legitimate educational interest in the record. University officials are university employees with a responsibility for promoting educational objectives for the institution or third parties under contract with the institution to provide professional services to advance the educational mission. University officials with a legitimate educational interest are university employees who are required to review education records to fulfill their professional responsibilities related to university business.

  • The disclosure of student education records to a university official does not authorize the sharing of that data with a third party
  • Access to information does not authorize unrestricted use
  • Student education records should be used only for official university business related to educational success
  • Curiosity is not considered a legitimate educational interest
  • Status as a Miami employee does not qualify an individual as having a legitimate educational interest

Access to Miami University Data for Research Purposes

Miami University faculty and staff seeking to use institutional human subject data (student and/or employee data) for academic research must seek approval from the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). However, these data will not be provided by university offices; those conducting research will need to gather data directly from human subjects (via surveys/interviews/Canvas gradebooks). Additionally, in the case of student-level data, signed FERPA releases must be collected. Relevant human subject data include, but are not limited to:

  • Student-level demographic data (sex, race/ethnicity)
  • Student-level socio-economic data (first-generation status/PELL recipients)
  • Course enrollment and grades
  • High school GPAs and test scores
  • Employee-level demographic data (sex, race/ethnicity)

Please contact the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at institutionalresearch@MiamiOH.edu with any questions.