FOIA Request

Wonder where we get the information or your university not listed?

First, all of the information on this website comes from either users adding their information, or straight from the university. All the data from the university comes from something called a FOIA or Freedom of Information Request.

A Freedom of Information Act request or FOIA request, is a law that gives United States citizens the right to access information about the federal government, empowering citizens to get information about the government. It gives you, the tax payer, the power to request specific emails, documents pertaining to an event, or basically anything that is not protected by law (i.e. does not break FERPA, HIPPA, or is classified), so long as it is a public institution.

Using this power, granted to us via FOIA, in theory it is possible to obtain the grade distributions for every public university. However, in practice this may not be possible, as many universites like to... play hard to get. Other unviersities, such as Harvard or Yale, which are private universities and do not have to share that information.

Believe it or not, sending in a FOIA request is extremely simple, and most requests are responded to within 7 business days. Many states have laws that require them to respond within a given time period (usually within 10 to 14 days), however this is not always the case.

If you are interested in the information of a public college or university (here’s a partial list), then it is possible to submit a FOIA request, to do so all you should need to do is:

  1. Find out where to send a FOIA request
  2. Send the following phrase (or a derivative there of):

    Hello my name is <Insert Name>,

    Address: <Insert Your Address>

    Email: <Insert Your Email>

    Phone Number: <Insert Your Phone Number>

    I am requesting the grade distributions by percent and/or letter grade, for every class and instructor for the last five years at the <Enter University Name>. Please ensure the documents are FERPA compliant. I request that the information is in CSV format, and in digital format. Preferably in the form:

    Course Subject, Course Number, Course Title, Course Section, Term/Semester, Primary Instructor, A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, W, Average Grade in GPA.

    If putting in in that form is extra work, comma separated value format with the requisite information is acceptable.

    Please notify me of any expenses prior to incurring them.

    Thank you,
    <Insert Your Name>

  3. Send to the appropriate individual, and wait
  4. If they don't respond within 5 days, email again, and ask if any progress has been made.
  5. Once you receive the data, ensure it is in the proper format (.csv, .xlsx, etc.).
  6. Forward me the FOIA request email chain you had, with links or a .zip with/to the data, along with an introduction :) I’m not your servant, so please be kind.
  7. Hopefully, I will have it up for you within a day or two, this may change depending on volume.
  8. Bask in the beauty and share with your friends!

That’s it! Once we receive the data I can update it with the grade distribution for your entire university, you can be the hero of <insert university here>. Unfortunately, some universities may try to charge you for records. This (in my opinion) is more-or-less a form of extortion, as it should be relatively easy to generate these files as the university will clearly track the grades of students… If this is the case, I apologize, but there is little I can do at this time to help. At some point I may make a donations page for this, or use advertising revenue, but currently this website costs me money. However, all hope is not lost, so read on further!

What I have not touched on was the information provided by Easy A users! This information is the ratings for each course/professor, provided by kind hearted souls. Once you contact us, I’ll add your university so you and your friends can start providing feedback about professors.

However, until the FOIA request is sent, the information provided by Easy A will be little better than other websites dedicated to just rating professors.

Thank you for adding a university to Easy A, and contributing to better grades for everyone!