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What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, is a federal law that can be summarized by the following two points:

Access. A student is permitted certain rights regarding his/her education records:

Confidentiality. School officials must protect the privacy of education records and shall not disclose personally identifiable information about a student or permit inspection of the student's records without his/her written consent unless such action is permitted by the Act.

When may information be disclosed?

FERPA permits two exceptions regarding the release of student information without obtaining written consent from students.

Directory Information. FERPA allows UW-Platteville to share a student's "directory information" unless the student has officially requested to restrict its release (such restrictions are noted in PASS by a light-blue window shade icon). UW-Platteville directory information items include only the following:

A student who wants to restrict the release of his/her directory information must complete and file the "Privacy Hold" form in the Registrar's Office. The privacy restriction will remain in effect unless the student submits written notification to the Registrar's Office to have it removed.

Non-directory information and restricted directory information must NOT be released without the student's written, signed and dated consent. Such consent must specify and include the following three items: 1) the records to be released; 2) the party or class of parties to whom the records should be released; and 3) the reason or purpose for the release of the records.

UW-Platteville school officials who have a legitimate educational interest. FERPA allows a UW-P school official to share a student's education record information (directory information and non-directory information), without the student's written consent, with other UW-Platteville school officials who have a legitimate educational interest.

Other than these two exceptions, always error on the side of caution and do not disclose or share any personally identifiable information about a student. If there are any questions regarding FERPA, please call the Registrar's Office at 342-1321 or visit the office located on the first floor of Brigham Hall

Definition of Terms

Disclosure of education record information to a UW-Platteville school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute authorization for that school official to transmit, share, or disclose any or all of that information to a third party who does not have a legitimate educational interest. An unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education record of a student is prohibited.

Parents and FERPA

Parents often expect the same access to student records of their children as they had when their son or daughter attended K-12. FERPA provided them with rights to this information but once their child starts college, those rights transfer to the student.

Parents are encouraged to speak with their child about their academic progress. University Officials may not release any information to a parent without written consent from the student. Information should not be shared by phone or email.

Student Safety and FERPA

While FERPA pertains to a student's educational record, it does not prevent a university employee from sharing information about a student's behavior. Faculty and Academic Teaching Staff who see their students on a regular basis are often the first to observe serious personal problems or troubling behavior.

Changes in a student's behavior could mean warning signs of distress. These changes could include: physical or verbal aggression, withdrawn and shy behavior, uncontrollable crying, bizarre emails, talking to oneself, a disheveled appearance, or a sudden change in academic performance (drop in grades, not showing up for class, etc.)

If you observe any of these changes, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 342-1854 or send an email to:

Immediate threats to safety should be reported to the Campus police at 342-1584 and/or off-campus law enforcement by dialing 911.

Simple FERPA Do's and Don'ts for Faculty and Staff

Additional Resources

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*Special thanks to UW-Milwaukee for furnishing these FERPA materials.