We strive to fully protect student’s educational records as required by FERPA. The law requires that information that is not directory information cannot be released to third parties without the written authorization of the student. This authorization must be given each time the student requests a transcript or asks that a third party be allowed access to the student’s educational record.
FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
Annually, the University of Wisconsin‑La Crosse informs Students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA).
This Act, with which this university intends to comply fully, was designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the FERPA Office concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the Act. Local policy follows the National guidelines for compliance with the provisions of the Act. See the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in the current university catalog, if you are concerned about non-disclosure of directory information. You must notify Records and Registration by the 10th day of classes, if you do not want directory information disclosed.
The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare issued, in the June 17, 1976 Federal Register, the final regulations for implementing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380, 513), as amended (P.L. 93-568, 2). The effective date of the Act as November 19, 1974. The amendment is popularly known as the "Buckley Amendment."
The June 17, 1976 final regulations contain all regulatory provisions pertaining to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and supersede the earlier publications of regulations, providing the public with a single document.
For further details, please refer to the university catalog (link to catalog) or contact Records and Registration.
For the purposes of this policy, UW-La Crosse has used the following definitions of terms.
Student – any person who attends or has attended UW-La Crosse
Eligible Student – Refers to a student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending an institution of postsecondary education. Since these guidelines are specifically for postsecondary institutions, "student" as used in this document is presumed always to refer to an eligible student. In non-postsecondary institutions, parents of students have additional rights not covered in this guide.
Education records – any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, or other medium) maintained by UW-La Crosse or an agent of the university which is directly related to a student except:
- A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- An employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
- Records maintained by UW-La Crosse’s Protective Services Office if the record is maintained solely for law enforcement purposes, and revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction.
- Records maintained by the Health Center if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
- Alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.
Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in the semester timetable. Information is also available in the catalog, Eagle Eye, and the Records and Registration web site.
PROCEDURE TO INSPECT EDUCATION RECORDS
Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate record custodian. Students should submit to the record custodian or an appropriate University staff person a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect.
The record custodian or an appropriate University staff person will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given in 45 days or less from the receipt of the request.
When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records that relate to himself/herself.
The student has a right to inspect the record in question but the University does not routinely make copies of educational records. Requests for copies will be considered on an individual basis as well as any associated costs.
RIGHT OF UNIVERSITY TO REFUSE ACCESS
UW-La Crosse reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:
- The financial statement of the student’s parents.
- Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were placed in file before January 1, 1975.
- Records connected with an application to attend UW-La Crosse or a component unit of UW-La Crosse if that application was denied.
- Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records
DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATION RECORDS
UW-La Crosse will disclose information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, except:
- To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records.
A school official is:
- A person employed by UW-La Crosse in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, support staff position,
or a student assisting an employee of the university.
- A person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as the attorney or
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
· Performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement.
· Performing a task related to a student’s education.
· Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
· Conducting research that benefits students and/or the University.
(Note: A college or university is required to specify the criteria for school officials and for legitimate educational interests.)
- To certain officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.
- To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university.
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
- To an alleged victim of any crime of violence the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
RECORD OF REQUESTS FOR DISCLOSURE
According to FERPA, an institution must maintain a record of each request, with the exceptions listed below, for access to, and each disclosure of, personally identifiable information from education records.
The record of each request for access and each disclosure must contain the name of the parties who have requested or received information and the legitimate interest the parties had in requesting or obtaining the information.
A record does not have to be kept if the request was made by or disclosure was made to 1) the eligible student, 2) a school official who has been determined to have a legitimate educational interest, 3) a party with written consent from the eligible student, 4) a party seeking directory information only, or 5) a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official.
Thus, requests for or disclosures of education record information without the student’s written consent, which an institution would be required to record, would include but not be limited to 1) disclosure to the parent (either custodial or noncustodial) of an eligible student, 2) disclosure in response to a lawfully issued court order or subpoena, 3) disclosure for external research purposes where individual students have been identified, or 4) disclosure in response to an emergency.
These records must be maintained with the education records of the student as long as the records are maintained by the institution.
UW-La Crosse designated the following categories of student information as public or "Directory Information." Such information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion.
Names, addresses, telephone numbers, UW-La Crosse e-mail address, school/college status, enrollment status, and classification.
Previous institution(s) attended, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, physical factors (height, weight, etc. for athletes).
Major field of study, awards, honors (includes Dean’s List), expected graduation date, degree(s) conferred, date(s) awarded.
Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. To withhold disclosure, students may go to their WINGS account. Under the "Personal Information" section, click on the "Other Personal Information" dropdown box and choose the menu item " Privacy Settings". Students may make changes either to withhold, or release their privacy information at any time using WINGS. In order to prevent publishing in the printed directory this must be done prior to the end of the second week of each semester or the end of the first week of summer session. The university assumes that failure on the part of any student to make a specific request for the withholding of categories of "Directory Information," within the time period mentioned above, indicates individual approval for disclosure.
In addition to the items listed above, UW-La Crosse has designated photographs and images that are taken of students on campus and at university-sponsored activities as information that may appear in university publications, brochures, websites, etc. without the written consent of students.
CORRECTION OF EDUCATION RECORDS
Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:
- A student must ask the custodian of the record in question to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record he/she wants changed and specify why he/she believes it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of his/her privacy or other rights.
- UW-La Crosse may comply with the request or it may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, UW-La Crosse will notify the student of the decision and advise him/her of his/her rights to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.
- Upon request, UW-La Crosse will arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
- The hearing will be conducted by a impartial hearing body or officer who will be members of the university community. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
- UW-La Crosse will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
- If UW-La Crosse decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will notify the student that he/she has a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
- The statement will be maintained as part of the student’s education records as long as the contested portion is maintained. If UW-La Crosse discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.
- If UW-La Crosse decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.