Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
Based on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, the only information that may be released to outside institutional sources without the written permission of the individual student is directory information. This is defined by the Act as the student’s name, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail address, date and place of birth, classification, major field of study, dates of attendance, full-time/part-time status, degrees and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. For example, if a parent calls and asks for information regarding a student, the only information you may legally release to the parent is directory information.
A student may sign a release in the Office of Student Affairs, Dempsey 148, which allows educational records to be released to a third party. If you have access to Peoplesoft, a Positive Service Indicator will appear on the student’s record. Click on the icon, and look for the type of release indicated and the phone number to call for more information. The release is kept on file in the Student Affairs office (424-4000). Call either the number listed on PeopleSoft or 424-4000 to verify the identity of the third party.
Any student not desiring their directory information to be made public must complete a written request in Dempsey 148. An e-mail is then sent to all the departmental Directors and Deans with the names of students who request to have their directory information kept private. A list of these students should be made available to all employees who give out directory information to the public, especially if the employees do not have access to PeopleSoft.
When a student makes this written request, an icon is also displayed on the student’s record in PeopleSoft. The icon is in the upper right hand corner of the screen, and it looks like a blue window shade. If the FERPA icon is on the PeopleSoft screen, none of the student’s information should be given out, including the student’s name. Tell the caller, I don’t have a record of this person at UW Oshkosh. If the caller has further questions, refer them to the Office of Student Affairs, 424-4000, or Student Records, 424-2285.
All employees who have access to the Student Information System (SIS) have signed the PeopleSoft Access and Compliance form, in which they agreed to abide by FERPA. It is extremely important for the safety of students that you look for this icon every time you pull up a student’s record.
FERPA Danger Zones for Faculty & Staff:
- Giving out directory information about a student who has requested confidentiality. It is important to check the student’s PeopleSoft screen for the FERPA icon. If the icon is present, directory information should not be given out. NOTE: Even if the student's name is listed in the printed university phone book, it doesn't mean that you can give out directory information. The student may have requested confidentiality after the phone book was printed. If you do not have access to PeopleSoft, call 424-4000 to get a paper copy of the list of students for your reference.
- Posting grades or returning graded work in ways that connect confidential information to Personally Identifiable information. Grades should not be posted using a part of the student’s Social Security number or I.D. number. Class rosters are protected by FERPA, also.
- Re-disclosing confidential information without authorization.
- Disclosing records to parents, employers, or other students without permission.
- Including Personally Identifiable information about student A in student B’s record without student A’s permission.
- If you are unsure of whether or not you can disclose information, err on the side of privacy and don't disclose.
The University’s FERPA policy is stated in the 2008-09 Student Handbook. It is also available at: www.uwosh.edu/registrar/policies/ferpa.php. Any outside requests for mailing labels or lists of students should be made through Administrative Computing. If you have further questions, please contact Jean Kwaterski in the Office of Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 424-4000.
Petra M. Roter, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
800 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901-8606