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Data Sharing Guidelines

Much of the frequently requested data is already available on our website, and we are continuously trying to improve our clients’ experience by proactively addressing and updating our website with the data that can be useful for them. Following the guidelines of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), we honor data privacy and under most cases, we provide data only in the aggregate form. Requests for data about individual students, faculty, and staff should instead be directed to the Registrar’s office or University Personnel.

Under some special circumstances, IR can provide unit-level data with personally identifiable information (PII) removed. If the PII needs to be included in the data, the data requester needs to get the approval from both the department and the Registrar’s office through DocuSign. If the requester wants unit-level data, whether or not it contains PII, they must agree that the data will be used within SJSU and for institutional research purposes only. The requester must agree that they will not use the data for publication or any other academic research purposes and that they will not further share the data with others. To get approval for such requests, please send an email to the Office of Institutional Research:


  1. What does it mean by aggregate data?
    Aggregate data means that the data gathered from various variables has been summarized and compiled as a data report.
  2. What does it mean by unit-record data?
    Unit-record data refers to disaggregated raw data. It includes personal, enrollment, and academic data at an individual level.
  3. What is personally identifiable information (PII)?
    Personally identifiable information (PII) is any information about individuals that might disclose their identity and personal information. PII is sensitive data that can potentially allow others to indirectly dig out the identity or personal information of the students.
  4. What are the examples of PII?
    In order to better understand the scope of PII, some examples are listed below:
    • Name of the student
    • Names of the parents, guardians, family members or the maiden name of the student’s mother
    • Phone number, email address, home address, or other contact information of students, faculty, staff, their parents/guardians, or family members
    • Date and place of birth
    • Social security number
    • Student and employee ID issued by SJSU
    • Digital files including photographs, videos, and audio recordings
    • Biometric data i.e. fingerprints or palm prints
    • Geolocation data relayed by a smartphone
  5. Under what circumstances, can IR deny the release of unit-record data?
    If the data set is very small (e.g. it has only 5 students, with 3 different ethnicities), and even if the PII is redacted, it is highly possible to identify the student identities and their respective academic records. Therefore, IR will not share unit-level data if the cell size is below 5 or when there is a potential risk of disclosing the identity of the records.
  6. I am not sure if IR can help me with my data request?
    Please explore the reports provided on our website. There is a wide array of reports on our website covering student admissions, enrollment, graduation, retention, campus climate surveys, NSSE, student/employee/faculty quickfacts, common data set (CDS), SOTEs, etc. If you need assistance with these reports, please send an email to
  7. Which external organizations does IR provide assistance to?
    IR works with Educational Testing Service (ETS), Princeton Review, College Board, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Health (NIH), Wintergreen Orchard House, Peterson’s CollegeData, US News, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) for mandatory or high-stakes external reporting.
  8. I am a graduate student and I need some data for my research project, will IR accommodate my data request?
    Unfortunately, IR doesn’t accept any student data requests.
  9. I am a faculty member and have been asked by my department chair to do research on our students. May I later use this data at an outside conference?
    For data provided by the IR office that is not published on our website, you may only use the data for institutional research purposes within San Jose State University. Such data cannot be used in publications or presentations, or be shared with outside entities without being approved by the IR office.
  10. Does IR fulfill data requests from the SJSU faculty members to help with their research projects?
    IR does not provide assistance on personal research projects of the faculty members. IR only supports business-related inquiries. However, IR provided a wide range of institutional reports on the IR website about students, faculty, staff, courses and survey results. Everyone is welcome to use the data on the website to make reports and presentations about San Jose State University.

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Institutional Research
Clark Hall 562
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0186

Phone: 408.924.3175

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