The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended requires that you be advised of your rights concerning your educational records, and of certain categories of public information which the University has designated as “directory information”. This information will help you learn more about what your rights are as students, parents, faculty, staff and student workers. This resource should help provide an understanding of FERPA and assist you in understanding what UW-Parkside faculty and staff are required to do to protect student information and privacy.
FERPA governs and protects your rights to your individual educational records. The primary rights protected under FERPA are:
Notification of Rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
UW-Parkside and all institutions of higher education are required to notify enrolled students at least annually of their rights under FERPA. See the full annual disclosure text.
Educational records are all the records maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside about individual students, with seven exceptions:
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside, in accordance with FERPA, has designated the following categories of information about individual students as public, or directory information. This information will be routinely released to any inquirer unless you specifically request that a FERPA hold be placed on your record. The following is a list of what the university has determined to be directory information:
Non-Directory Information (Private Records)
The following categories of information are considered private, or protected, by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside:
Private Records are releasable only to the following parties:
Who Can Request Access?
Under FERPA, prior written consent** must be obtained before your educational record may be disclosed to a third party, unless they are exempted from this provision. Information will be released without your prior written consent to the following groups or individuals:
Note: UW-Parkside student organizations seeking student information must contact the Registrar to request student directory information.
Instances in which prior written consent is not required:
** You can designate specific parties that you would like UW-Parkside offices to release information to by completing and submitting the Information Release Consent Form.
When choosing to restrict your information, be careful as there are consequences for ANY decision to remove directory information from the lists of information available to the public. Should you decide to request that a FERPA hold be placed on your record, it will restrict all directory information and any future requests for such information from any non-University of Wisconsin-Parkside parties will be refused. For example:
Upon your request for a FERPA hold UW-Parkside will honor your request to withhold items from public records, but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release the information. If you wish to restrict all public information through a FERPA hold, you must file a “Request to Withhold Student Information” available in the Office of the Registrar (Wyllie Hall D187). The FERPA hold remains in effect until you submit a request in writing with signature to remove it.
Location of Records
Educational records are not stored in a central location on campus. Requests to review your records must be made in writing and presented to the appropriate office. That office will have up to 45 days to honor a request to review “official records, files and data directly related to them”. For most students these offices will include the Office of the Registrar, college dean, major department, Student Financial Services, Dean of Students or Residence Life.
Correction of Information
A student may request to have records corrected that they believe to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy rights. Requests to change and to challenge the information deemed erroneous or misleading should be made in writing and directed to the dean or director of the appropriate office so that a hearing can be scheduled. In most cases, the decision of the dean or director will be final. If the student finds the decision unsatisfactory, they may place a statement in their file setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision. A student’s right to challenge information of records does not extend to review of grades received unless the grade assigned by the professor was inaccurately recorded in the student’s records.
The following basic rules should be followed by UW-Parkside faculty, staff and student employees:
Rule #1: FERPA recognizes a person enrolled in post-secondary education as a “student” and provides that individual certain rights, regardless of age. Therefore, a parent does not have an inherent right to access his/her child’s educational records.
Rule #2: Faculty, staff and student workers have access to educational records for the sole purpose of performing their jobs professionally and responsibly. They have a responsibility to protect the confidentiality of educational records in their possession, regardless of the medium in which the records are presented.
Rule #3: Educational records are considered confidential and may not be released without written consent of the student, with the exception of unrestricted Directory Information. It is the responsibility of faculty, staff and student employees to verify that student Directory Information is not restricted (with a FERPA hold) before releasing it.
Student records with a FERPA hold will display this privacy shade in SOLAR.
Rule #4: School officials, including field supervisors for student teachers and student interns, must protect the privacy of educational records and not disclose personally identifiable information about a student or permit inspection of the student’s records without his or her written consent. The student’s written, signed, and dated consent must contain three elements:
Note: A letter of reference written on behalf of a student by a cooperating teacher, supervisor or other person does NOT provide that person with the authorization to disclose educational records or to discuss the student’s performance even if the letter welcomes telephone calls or other inquiries about the student.
Key things to remember: