What is FERPA? Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 • Also known as Buckley Amendment. • Applies to all schools that receive funds from the Secretary of Education. • Protects privacy of students educational records and allows students to access their records. Essence of FERPA: • College students have right to: – Review their own records – Seek correction of erroneous records – Block disclosure of any or all directory information » Directory information- information whose release is generally not considered a violation of privacy Essence of FERPA (cont.): • Colleges must not disclose personally identifiable educational records unless: – Student provides written consent OR – Records are directory information (unless blocked) OR – Person making request is exempt from written consent requirement Why worry about FERPA? • Lawsuits • Loss of Federal funding • Dismissal • The right thing to do! What is an educational records? • Any student information maintained by the University. – Examples • Grades • Enrollment records • Class schedules • Printed class lists • Test papers • Can exist in any form-handwritten note, computer file, or print. Faculty guidelines regarding educational records: • Educational records are confidential-except directory information. Do not release them without written student consent. • Refer all requests from off campus to Registrar- including request for directory information. • Protect all educational records in your possession. • Don’t keep any records you don’t need. Official UWSP list of Directory Information: • Name • Home address • Home telephone number • Local address (Student should keep current address on file in the Registration and Records Office.) • Local telephone number • E-mail address • Place of birth • Major/minor field of study, and college • Participation in officially recognized university activities and sports Official UWSP list of Directory Information: (cont.) • Weight and height of members of athletics teams • Registration: (including beginning, ending, registration and withdrawal dates; credits carried in a term; current classification; and graduation dates) • Degrees and awards received (type of degree and date granted) • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended • Name of parents or guardian • High school from which you graduated Choosing not to release directory information: • Directory information is usually released without student consent. • Exceptions: – Students can block disclosure of some or all directory information. – University may refuse disclosure, however WI open records law determines our release. Releasing directory information off- campus: • External requests are handled through Registrar. • University must maintain record of: – Names and address of requestors – Indicated interest – The date of disclosure – Person to whom records are released Faculty and staff guidelines regarding directory information: • Make sure it’s directory information- check official UWSP list. • Make sure student has not restricted their release. • Class lists identify students who have restrictions. • Refer off-campus request to Registration and Records (firstname.lastname@example.org). Stop and Think: • Is it permissible for instructors to post grades outside the office door using only the last four digits of the students’ Social Security number as identifiers? Answer: No. • Grades linked to students by any part of Social Security numbers, University ID numbers, names, or any other identifying information must not be released or posted. Stop and Think: • An instructor would like his class to see a listing of all the scores on a test. The list contains no names or other identifying information. Does the instructor need written consent from the students to display this information? Answer: No. • A list of scores that cannot in any way be linked with individual students does not require written consent. Stop and Think: • A student named Stevie Pointer was ill the day the instructor handed out the graded quiz. Stevie emails his instructor asking for his score. The return address is Stevie.Pointer@hotmail.com •Can this instructor safely hit REPLY and respond with a grade? Answer: No. • The instructor cannot be sure the private information is being mailed to the right person. Regardless how unique the name, instructors should direct email with protected information only to the students’ official UWSP email address. • For example: – email@example.com Stop and Think: • Is it lawful for an instructor to pass around an attendance roster that includes University ID numbers? Answer: No. • A University ID number is not directory information. Neither is a class list. Releasing either requires written consent from the student. Stop and Think: • A local newspaper requests a list of students who are participation in a study abroad program in the Middle East. Is the University required to disclose the names of all participants? Answer: No. • Although participation in a study abroad program could be directory information, the location of the program and the list of student participants is not. Requests like this should be referred to Registration and Records. What form must a student consent take? • Must be written or typed (preferably on form provided by Registration and Records) • Example: Letter of Recommendation release Who does not require a written student consent? • University of Wisconsin Stevens Point officials who have “legitimate educational need”: – Demonstrated need to know by school officials acting in student’s educational interest. • Curiosity is not a legitimate educational need. Records school officials may not access: • Educational need to know is not justification for inspecting: – Personal notes of faculty and staff – Employment records in jobs not obtained as result of student status – Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment – Records in the Department of Public Safety – Financial records of parent or spouse Who are school officials? • Faculty • Administrators • Researchers • Clerical and professional employees who manage student records • Support units, staff-security officers, health care providers, clergy • Members of Board of Trustees • Students serving on official University committees or assisting qualified officials • Consultants and Volunteers working on behalf of the University Stop and Think • Do faculty have unlimited access to educational records without student consent? Answer: No. • Faculty many access records without written consent only if they are acting in a student’s educational interest and have a demonstrated need to know. Stop and Think: • A female colleague had one of your students in class last semester and wonders how the student is doing this term. Is it lawful to share the student’s grades with her? Answer: No. • The colleague does not need this information to carry out her educational responsibilities. Curiosity is not a legitimate need. The University may disclose records without written consent to: • School officials with legitimate educational need to know • Students requesting to view their own records • Persons in an emergency, if the information is necessary to protect health or safety – Refer all requests to Student Affairs, Protective Services, or Registration and Records • Persons complying with judicial order or subpoena – Refer all requests to Registration and Records The University may disclose records without written consent to: • Persons under contract with University (attorneys, auditors, collection agents) • Persons or organizations providing financial aid or involved in related duties or decisions • Organizations conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests or improve instruction • Accrediting organization carrying out accrediting functions The University may disclose records without written consent to: • Authorized representatives of government agencies for audit, evaluation, and enforcement of programs: – U.S. Comptroller General – Department of Education – Attorney General (law enforcement only) – State educational institutions • School officials of other institutions in which student seeks enrollment: – Inform students of disclosure The University may disclose records without written consent to: • Court officials, if student has initiated legal action against school or vice versa • Alleged victims of violent crimes requesting results of school disciplinary proceedings regarding perpetrators. • Public requesting findings of campus disciplinary body. • Veterans Administration officials requesting information related to VA programs • Representatives of Immigration and Naturalization Service requesting information related to SEVIS. Stop and Think: • American College Testing (ACT) is conducting a study on the advantages and disadvantages of selective admission. • Is the University required to obtain written student consent before disclosing these educational records? Answer: No. • The University does not need to obtain written student consent when groups requesting records are working to further the educational process by: – Conducting effectiveness studies – Approving accreditation – Developing predictive tests – Providing or making decisions about financial aid – Auditing, evaluating, and enforcing governmental programs Stop and Think: • A police officer phones and asks you to send him a class list to aid him in carrying out his investigation of one of your students. Is it lawful to comply with his request? Answer: No. • A class list is not directory information. It cannot be released unless the police officer has a subpoena. In that case, the request should be handled through Registration and Records. Reminder: Refer all non-UWSP requests for student information, including directory information, to Registration and Records. Stop and Think: • A student asked her instructor to write a letter of recommendation. She gave the instructor a copy of her resume, with included her GPA. • May the faculty member include her GPA in the letter without the student’s written consent? Answer: No. • The student’s grades and GPA are not directly information. The instructor must not release this information unless: – The student provides written consent OR – The request is made by a UWSP official or other authorized person with legitimate educational need Reminder: Be sure to check with Registration and Records before releasing records to anyone off campus. Stop and Think: • Do student representatives on official University committees (e.g., honors, curriculum) have the right to see other students’ educational records during deliberations of that committee? Answer: Yes. • Students on official University committees are University officials with a legitimate educational need to know. Stop and Think: • What about students who are hired by the University for work in department offices? • Can these students view other student records? Show this Slide to Dan Answer: Yes. • Student employees assisting University officials with legitimate educational needs can view records. • These students must first sign a confidentiality statement. Stop and Think: • Which one of the following student records can a faculty member inspect based on legitimate educational need? A. Student University ID numbers B. Medical and counseling records used for solely for treatment C. Financial records of student’s parents or spouse D. Records in Dept. of Public Safety Answer: A • Faculty may have a legitimate educational need to view student University ID number. For example, University ID’s may be used as identifiers on tests scored by Exam Services. • The other choices (medical, financial, and University security information) may not be educational records. Our FERPA obligation to Students: • Must provide annual notification of FERPA rights, including definitions of key terms: – Educational record – School official – Legitimate educational interest – Directory information • Must provide annual opportunity to refuse disclosure of directory information. – Students must have reasonable time to submit request. – Request must be in writing. What about parental rights? • Parental FERPA rights transfer to the student when the child: – Turns 18 OR – Enrolls in a post-secondary institution as a degree-seeking student Parental rights ( cont.): • According to FERPA, college students are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. • We at UWSP believe that this communication between parent and student will foster long term growth in relationships. • The quickest, easiest way for parents to receive student information such as grades, schedules, financial statements, is for the student to provide this to their parents. Students can look information up online and e-mail a copy to their parents. Student records are available through their myPoint account. Stop and Think: • Do students have the right to inspect their educational records? Answer: Yes. • Students have the right to review their own records Technology uses impacting FERPA: • Faculty/student email • Posting grades • Distance learning • E-signatures • PINs • E-mail transcript requests • Tracking/logging • Annual notification of FERPA rights via web Summing up: • IF information – Is maintained by University and – Can be linked to individual student, and – Is not directory information • THEN it must not be released unless: – Student provides written consent or – Person making request is a UWSP official with a legitimate educational need to know – Person making request is authorized non-University official (e.g., working to monitor or improve educational process.) Summing up (cont.): • External requests for student records- including directory information-should be referred to Registration and Records. • Certain records are not educational in nature-must not be released. Summing up (cont.): • Students rights: – To review their own educational records – To refuse disclosure of directory information to non-UWSP officials – To receive annual notification of their FERPA rights Remember… • When in doubt, don’t give it out. Call Registration and Records.
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