The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. A student is defined as an individual who is (or has been) in attendance and for whom the university maintains education records. All rights under FERPA apply to the student. Education records are defined as all records maintained by the University about a student. There are six exceptions:
* Personal notes of UW-Whitewater staff and faculty.
* Employment records.
* Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment.
* Financial records of parents.
* Confidential letters and statements of recommendations placed in a student's records prior to January 1, 1975.
* Confidential letters and statements of recommendations for admission, employment, or honorary recognition placed in records after January 1, 1975, for which the right to inspect and review has been waived.
The law provides to the student the following rights:
(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a written request for access.
Students should submit to the Office of the Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Assistant Chancellor will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Office of the Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs, the office shall advise the student of the University official(s) to whom the request should be addressed.
(2) The right to request an amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the University official to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
(3) The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. School officials have a legitimate educational interest if the officials need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel or health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent or the National Student Loan Clearinghouse); a person serving on the Board of Regents; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks.
Under FERPA, prior written consent must be obtained before information may be disclosed to third parties unless they are exempted from this provision. These exceptions include:
* Requests in accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order.
* Requests from representatives of agencies or organizations from which the student has received financial aid.
* Requests from officials of other educational institutions in which the student intends to enroll.
* Requests from other persons specifically exempted from the prior consent requirement of the act (certain federal and state officials, organizations conducting studies on behalf of the university, accrediting organizations).
* Requests for "Directory Information" (please refer to the following statement for an explanation).
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater designates the following student information as public or "Directory Information". This information , which may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose at its discretion, includes:
Name, home/local addresses and telephone numbers, dates or attendance (including units carried), classification, major/degree program, degrees conferred (including dates), previous institution(s) attended, awards, academic honors, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and physical factors (height and weight of athletes). Email addresses are available via web-based search facilities and they may be disclosed to satisfy requests that support the University's mission.
Students may withhold disclosure of Directory Information under FERPA. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Office of the Registrar two days prior to the first day of fall term classes. Forms requesting the withholding of information are available in the Registrar's Office, and the request is effective for the academic year.
(4) FERPA allows the release of education records without the consent of the student or his or her parents to authorized representatives of the attorney general for law enforcement purposes.
(5) FERPA permits disclosure to an alleged victim of either a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense of the final results of any disciplinary action taken against an alleged perpetrator.
(6) UW-W has the discretion to disclose the final results of any disciplinary proceeding undertaken against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense if, as a result of that disciplinary proceeding, the University has determined that the student in fact committed the crime or offense. However, the definition of "final results" is limited solely to the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by The University on that student. Only where a victim or witness has provided written consent may the University disclose the name of that student.
(7) UW-W may disclose to a student's parent or legal guardian information regarding any drug or alcohol violation (whether pursuant to federal, state, or local law or institutional policy) where the student is under 21 and the University has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation.
(8) The student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning any alleged failures by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, 20202-4605.
Registrar's Office - UW-Whitewater|
For comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last revised on May 21, 2002 by WDT