FERPA is the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs the release of student education records maintained by the University and access to these records.
Students are afforded certain rights concerning their education records, including:
The essence of FERPA can be summarized by the following two points - confidentiality and access. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 - commonly known as FERPA, the Privacy Act, or the Buckley Amendment - is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records. FERPA governs and protects your rights to your individual educational records.
The following primary rights are protected under FERPA:
An educational record is any record (in any medium), with certain exceptions, maintained by UW-Whitewater that is directly related to you as a student. This record can contain your name, several students’ names, or information that can personally (individually) identify you.
Requests to review your records must be made in writing and presented to the appropriate office responsible for the record. The written request must indicate specifically the records you wish to review. The office will have up to 45 days to honor your request. For most students the areas responsible for your record will include the Registrar’s Office, dean and department chair’s offices of your major, academic advising offices, and possibly the Dean of Students Office.
FERPA allows for the release of specified items of information not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. UW-Whitewater, in accordance with FERPA, has designated the following categories of information about individual students as directory (public) information. This information will be released to any inquirer unless you specifically request that all of the items on the following list be withheld.
Non-directory information includes items which are considered private, or protected, and which cannot be identified as directory information. Examples of private information include, but are not limited to:
Under FERPA, prior written consent must be obtained before a student’s educational record may be disclosed to a third party, with some exceptions. FERPA allows UW-Whitewater school officials to share your educational record information (public and private information) without your written consent with other UW-Whitewater university officials who have a legitimate educational interest. Legitimate educational interest means a university official has the need to know specific information in your educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. The school official does not have authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all of that information to a third party who does not have a legitimate educational interest. Instances in which prior written consent is not required for release of your record:
You have the right to restrict the release of all directory information. If you wish to do so, you must complete and file the “Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information” form available in the Registrar’s Office. Please consider very carefully the consequences of restricting your directory information. Should you decide to restrict the release of your directory information, any future requests for such information from non-university parties or organizations will be refused. For example, UW-Whitewater could not:
Records of campus disciplinary proceedings are considered protected with the exception of a crime of violence or of a non-forcible sex offense. FERPA affords the university discretion to disclose the final results of a disciplinary hearing regarding an incident alleged to involve acts of violence or of a non-forcible sex offense to the public. Disclosure to the victim is required.
The university expects that you will respect the rights of faculty and other students as you participate in the educational process. Follow the guidelines below to ensure the privacy of other students:
Circumstances where personally identifiable information may be released without prior written consent:
Know what information you have elected to withhold and/or disclose, and review it regularly
Generally not. Without your express, written permission, your family, like all other third parties, may have access only to your directory information. We encourage you to talk with your family to discuss grades, classes, class schedules, financial statements, or other private information. The only way for your family to receive this information is for you to provide it to them. Student records (e.g., grades and financial statements) are available on the WINS account. You should never share your NetID and password with your family or others.
If you are under the age of 21, FERPA permits UW-Whitewater to inform your parent/guardian if you are found in violation of alcohol or drug rules.
UW-Whitewater may disclose information from education records, without consent, to appropriate parties whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of you or other individuals.
You have the right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by UW Whitewater to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The complaint must contain specific allegations of facts providing cause to believe that a violation of FERPA has occurred.
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
Enrolled students, as well as faculty and staff, can refer to the following notification statements for information on student rights concerning confidentiality and access of student education records maintained at UW-Whitewater.