FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. This is a federal law that protects the privacy, access, and disclosure of student education records. If you are a currently enrolled student or a previously enrolled student in a credit-bearing course at UW Extended Campus, your student education records are covered. Student education records are records that are directly related to a student and maintained by the UW Extended Campus. Examples are grades, transcripts, student course schedules, student financial information, and student discipline files, with the following 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, for which the student has waived the right to inspect and review
For information on how FERPA applies to you, click the home campus of your UW Flexible Option program:
You may also visit the Department of Education for additional information.
FERPA for UW Extended Campus Employees
Working with Students
Protecting student education records is a top priority at UW Extended Campus. The nature of our business requires us to speak with students on a daily basis and situations can arise where we must be careful sharing information due to privacy reasons. Below are some tips to help you ensure that you are both assisting the student and following FERPA regulations.
- Identify who you are speaking with. Since all of the communication will be done with students via the phone or email, this is an essential checkpoint when sharing information. For a list of acceptable questions to ask a student, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
- Student record information should only be shared with the student, after appropriate verification. If individual requests non-directory information, make sure that there is a FERPA consent request form on file for that person.
- When communicating via email, information should only be sent to the student’s UW email.
- Copies of student communications should be placed into the student education record.
- Education Records are those records, documents, and other materials that (i) contain information directly related to a student; and (ii) are maintained by an educational agency, institution, or by a person acting for such agency or institution. Education records include student information that is maintained in any recorded way, such as handwriting, print, email, computer media, video or audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and within the student information systems.
- All requests from the student regarding their student education record must be completed within a timely fashion and no longer than 45 days.
If you have any questions about what is acceptable to discuss with the student, contact the UW Extended Campus Registrar’s Office.
Working with Other Employees
In addition to speaking with students regarding information in the student education record, employees must also speak with each other, and to campus partner institutions, about information found in these records as a part of daily business activities. This is known as a legitimate interest and under the guidelines of FERPA, this type of communication is acceptable. However, not every employee has a legitimate interest and should not be included in discussions about student education records. The Registrar will verify what information can be shared with employees based on legitimate interest if there are questions; it is possible that these requests could be denied and when available, an alternative may be offered.
Working with Parents/Guardians/Spouse
Prior to communicating with parents, as a UW Extended Campus employee, you must first answer “yes” to one of the following questions before providing non-directory information to the parent/guardian:
- Is there a FERPA Consent Request Form on file allowing for information to be shared with the parent/guardian?
- Is this a health and safety emergency?
If you are able to answer “yes” to either of those questions, then it is permissible to share non-directory information with the parent; however, it should be noted that the information that is allowed to be shared should reflect the directive on the FERPA Consent Request Form. If you cannot answer “yes” to either of these questions, then only directory information should be shared with the parent.
If you have any questions on what is allowed to be shared, contact the UW Extended Campus Registrar’s Office.
Sharing Academic Information
Much of the student education record is academic information and is protected by FERPA as non-directory information. Here are some tips to help make the communication process go smoothly:
- Remember to verify that you are speaking directly with the student prior to releasing information that is considered non-directory information.
- If you are communicating with a student via email, you must use the student’s UW email.
- Only share information that you have direct knowledge of. Hearsay, speculation, or topics outside of your expertise should not be shared by you.
- It is OK to decline a request for sharing non-directory information if you are not able to confirm with certainty that you are speaking with the student. You may wish to contact the student by using a trusted means of communication (such as the student’s UW email address or a phone number provided by the student) to continue the conversation.
- Any requests for enrollment verification or degree/certificate verification should be processed by the home campus.
When in doubt, don’t give it out! Contact the UW Extended Campus Registrar’s Office for additional information, questions or concerns about releasing this type of information.