FERPA Guidelines for Students
Records (Privacy and Access)
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended entitles you to review "official records, files, and data directly related" to you which the university maintains. You may also request a hearing regarding any alleged "inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate" information. In most circumstances, the university will not release information from your records to third parties without your consent or notice to you. An interpretation of the law is printed below, and copies of it are available in the Office of the Registrar, 101 Student Services Center.
Class Room Performance -- Federal law affords students privacy regarding nearly all aspects of their academic performance. This includes any information regarding their performance in the classroom including grades, test scores, and class schedules. When any individual, including a parent/guardian(s) or potential employer, contacts a University official or professor regarding a student's academic performance, the official/professor must first obtain written permission from the student before releasing that information. This release form protects the rights of the student as well as affording protection to University personnel.
Directory Information -- Q&A
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, requires that you be advised of your rights concerning your education records and of certain categories of public information which the university has designated "directory information." This notice, in question and answer format, satisfies this requirement of the act.
- As a student on the Stevens Point campus, what rights do I have regarding my university records?
You have the right to inspect and review all your records which meet the act's definition of "education records."
- What is the definition of "education records?"
Education records are all the records maintained by the university about you. There are six exceptions:
- Personal notes of UW-Stevens Point staff and faculty.
- Employment records.
- Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment.
- Financial records of your parents.
- Confidential letters and statements or recommendations placed in your records prior to January 1, 1975.
- Confidential letters and statements or recommendations for admission, employment, or honorary recognition placed in your records after January 1, 1975, for which you have waived the right to inspect and review.
- Is there any situation in which the university may insist that I waive my rights?
Under no condition may you be required to waive your rights under this act before receiving university service or benefits.
- Where are my records kept?
Records are not maintained in a central location on the campus. Requests to review your records must be made separately to each office which maintains your records. Your request must be made in writing and presented to the appropriate office. That office will have up to 45 days to honor your request. For most students, these offices will include those of the registrar, your school or college dean, your major department, Protective Services, and any other campus office with which you have been in contact, such as Student Financial Aid or Residential Living.
- What if I do not agree with what is in my records?
You may challenge any information contained in your "education records" which you believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate. This right does not extend to reviewing grades unless the grade assigned by your professor was inaccurately recorded in your records. You may also insert a statement in your record to explain any such material from your point of view. If you wish to challenge information in your file, you must make a written request for a hearing to the dean or director of the appropriate office. In most cases, the decision of the dean or director will be final. However, you may elect to file an appeal in writing to the Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs who will review the decision only if a significant question of policy or compliance with the law appears to be raised by the case.
- May I determine which third parties can view my education records?
Under the act, your 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 from UWSP faculty and staff with a legitimate educational "need to know."
- Requests in accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order.
- Requests from representatives of agencies or organizations from which you have received financial aid.
- Requests from officials of other educational institutions in which you intend 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"
- What kinds of inquiries does the university receive for "directory information?"
The university receives many inquiries for "directory information" from a variety of sources including friends, parents, relatives, prospective employers, graduate schools, honor societies, licensing agencies, government agencies, and news media.
- What if I don't want any "directory information" released?
If you wish to file a form withdrawing the information in the "directory" classification, you should report to the Office of the Registrar, 101 SSC, and complete the necessary form.
Please consider very carefully the consequences of any decision by you to remove these items from the list of "directory information." Should you decide to inform the university not to release any or all of this "directory information," any future request for such information from non-university persons or organizations will be refused. A prospective employer requesting confirmation of your major field of study or address would also be denied access to such items, should you withdraw them from the list of "directory information." The university will honor your request to withhold any of the items listed above but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permission to release them. Regardless of the effect upon you, the university assumes no liability of honoring your instructions that such information be withheld.
- Where can I find out more information about the provisions of the act?
If you have any questions regarding the provisions of the act, you may contact the Office of the Registrar, 101 SSC, 715-346-4301.
- Whom should I contact if I wish to make a complaint?
If you believe that the university is not complying with the act, please direct your comment to the Office of the Registrar, 101 SSC, 715-346-4301 or the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, 715-346-4093.