At Washington & Jefferson College, we understand the importance of keeping educational records private and confidential. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students (18 years old or older attending a postsecondary institution), certain rights with respect to their education records.
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
What are a student's rights under FERPA?
- The right to inspect and review their education records
- The right to seek to amend education records that are believed to be inaccurate of misleading
- The right to demand that personally identifiable information be disclosed only with student consent, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent
- The right to file a complaint against the institution
What is an education record?
An education record is any record which contains information that is personally identifiable to a student, and is maintained by the university or by a party or organization acting on behalf of the school.
Education records may include:
- Written and printed documents
- Electronic media
- Magnetic tape (microfilm and microfiche)
- Diskette or CDs
- Video or audio tapes
This includes transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.
What information is not considered part of an education record?
- Sole possession records or private notes of individual staff or faculty that are not accessible or released to other personnel
- Law enforcement or campus security records
- Employee records (unless contingent upon attendance)
- Medical records
- Alumni records
What is directory information?
Under FERPA, some information included in a student's education record is defined as directory information. Institutions may disclose that information without violating the law if it has specifically designated that information as "directory information."
The following items are considered directory information at Washington & Jefferson College:
- Address (local, permanent residence, email)
- Phone numbers
- Major, minor, emphasis, concentration
- Student activities & sports teams
- Weight/height (sports teams)
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status (full time, part time, not enrolled)
- Class level (FR, SO, JR, SR, GR)
- Date of graduation or anticipated graduation date
- Degree and awards received
- Most recent educational institution attended
- Name and address of parent(s), guardian, spouse
- Photographs, video or electronic images of students taken and maintained by W&J
- Colleague ID
Students who wish to withhold directory information may do so by visiting the Office of the Registrar.
Can a student allow a parent/guardian to have access to their education record?
At W&J students may access the “FERPA Password Maintenance” link in WebAdvisor, where students provide a FERPA password which is automatically loaded into Colleague/WebAdvisor. This password can be provided to a parent/guardian, and when provided will allow College personnel to share information from the student’s academic record with the parent/guardian. The FERPA password can be verified by faculty and staff in the user interface (UI) in the demographic header bar, or in WebAdvisor for Faculty in the Student Profile or on the Class Roster. Students can also visit the Office of the Registrar to fill out the form in person.
Additional FERPA resources are available in the Office of the Registrar, or on the U.S. Department of Education web site at https://ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.