The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended governs and protects your rights to your individual educational records. The primary rights protected under FERPA are:
1. Students’ rights to review and inspect their educational records
Educational records are all the records about you that are maintained by the University of Wisconsin institution in which you are or have been enrolled, with seven exceptions:
- Personal notes of faculty and staff
- Employment records
- Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment
- Campus Security records
- Financial records of a parent or spouse
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in your records before January 1, 1975
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation 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
2. Students’ rights to have their educational records amended or corrected
If you believe that your educational record is inaccurate or misleading, you may request that the University amend that record.
3. Students’ rights to control disclosure of certain portions of their educational records:
Directory Information (Public Records)
Each institution, in accordance with FERPA, has designated the following categories of information about you as public, or directory information. This information will be routinely released to any inquirer unless you specifically request that all of the items on the following list be withheld:
- Student name
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Date of birth
- Designation of school/college (year in school)
- Enrollment status (part/full time)
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Height and weight of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and dates of graduation including anticipated graduation dates
- Awards received, including academic awards
- Previous institutions attended
Non-Directory Information (Private Records)
Many categories of information are considered private, or protected, by University of Wisconsin institutions. For example, information such as social security number, campus identification number, place of birth, marital status, or academic actions is restricted unless you grant permission to release. For a complete list of restricted categories, click on your campus link below.
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 certain groups or individuals
Instances in which prior written consent is not required may include:
- Requests in connection with an emergency, if such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of you or another person.
- Requests in accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order.
- Requests for public records information (see above), if not restricted by you.
For further campus-specific information on FERPA restrictions and exceptions, please click on your campus link below.
You may choose to restrict information. For specific information on this process, click on your campus link below.
4. Finally, students have the right to notify the U.S. Department of Education concerning an academic institution’s failure to comply with FERPA regulations.
The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Notification of Rights Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
All institutions of higher education are required to notify our enrolled students at least annually of their rights under FERPA.
For complete campus information on FERPA, please click on the following: