FERPA - the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended - is a federal law that governs the privacy of student educational records, access to those records, and disclosure of information from them.
Students can refer to the following notification statements for information on student rights concerning confidentiality and access of student education records maintained at UW-Eau Claire:
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Privacy of Student Records
UW-Eau Claire annually informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) via an email notification. This federal law and the regulations promulgated by the Department of Education protects the privacy of educational records, establishes the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records and provides guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings.
Education Records Defined
Education Records are defined as records, files, communications and other materials in any recorded medium that relate directly to a student and are maintained by UW - Eau Claire. These records include but are not limited to: academic records, financial records, disabilities information, counseling documentation and instructional progress. Health records that are shared with counselors or staff of UW - Eau Claire for instructional or counseling purposes are classified as student records by FERPA.
Access to Student Education Records - Designated University Officials/Legitimate Educational Need Defined
Designated UW-Eau Claire officials that have a legitimate educational need to access students education records, if that information is required for that person in order to perform a job or service for the University.
Professors, advisors, administrative staff of the University, contractors; consultants; volunteers; or others providing services, or state education authorities or acting for the University frequently need to view student records in order to perform their jobs professionally and responsibly. These people have access to certain student information without written consent from the student. University officials are expected to use student information responsibly and safeguard against its exposure to non-officials. All third party vendors sign agreements with the University to protect any private information that they have access to.
Directory Information (Public Records) Defined
FERPA allows for the release of specified items of information not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. UW-Eau Claire, 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 the student specifically submits a Student Directory Information Restrictions Request Form.
All data requests for directory information for internal and external organizations are required to be processed by the Records and Registration Office per the Wisconsin's public records law.
- Phone numbers
- Campus email address (username)
- Major and minors
- Dates of attendance
- Classification (e.g., sophomore, senior, graduate student)
- Enrollment status (full/ part-time)
- Dates of graduation, including anticipated graduation dates
- Awards and academic honors
- Most recent previous institution attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Athletes’ weight/height
Non-directory information (private records) are items which are considered private, or protected, and cannot be identified as directory information. Such information includes a student's social security number, race, religion, national origin, gender, grades, and GPA. Circumstances where personally identifiable information may be released without prior written consent are outlined below.
Restricting Disclosure of Directory Information
Personally identifiable information such as a student's social security number, grades and GPA, class schedules, and transcripts are not available to any third party without the student's written consent unless they are a designated UW-Eau Claire official with legitimate educational interest or as designated below in the section "Release of Personally Identifiable Information to Other Colleges and Universities".
Students have the right to restrict the release of some or all of their directory information.
- Phone Number(s) Only – restricts release of all phone numbers
- Address(es) Only – restricts release of student's physical address
- All Academic and Biographical Information** – restricts release of all directory information
**Please note: Choosing to restrict All Academic and Biographical Information will result in the University not being able to verify enrollment/graduation data to prospective employers, other institutions, and/or newspapers. Also, your name and username will be unavailable in the Campus Directory online and Outlook Address Book (campus email), the result being users (including instructors) cannot readily email you without using your entire email address (e.i., firstname.lastname@example.org).
Students must complete and submit the "Student Directory Information Restrictions Request Form". Mailing information is on the form. The restrictions will remain in effect until you file a written notification with the Registrar's Office to have it removed.
Students should consider very carefully the consequences of restricting the release of all Academic and Biographical Information. Restriction of all Academic and Biographical Information will result in any future requests for such information from non-university parties or organizations to be refused.
Circumstances Where Personally Identifiable Information May be Released Without Prior Written Consent
- To authorized representatives of federal, state, and local educational authorities.
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received.
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense. (Only the final results of the disciplinary proceeding, regardless of whether the postsecondary institution concluded that a violation was committed.)
- To anyone if the disclosure is in connection with a disciplinary proceeding at a postsecondary institution if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and with respect to the allegation against him or her the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the institution.
- To accrediting organizations.
- To parents of a dependent student.
- To comply with a lawful subpoena or court order, including ex parte orders under the USA Patriot Act. (reasonable effort to notify).
- In connection with a health or safety emergency.
- To schools in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
Release of Personally Identifiable Information to Other Colleges and Universities
Should a UW-Eau Claire student seek to enroll in another college or university to complete a course or degree, UW-Eau Claire may share personally identifiable data with that college or university's education officials without the student's prior approval. UW-Eau Claire maintains a record of all releases of student records. A student may request to view a copy of what was shared with the other college/university by contacting the Registrar at 715-836-3887.