WOU: FERPA privacy FAQ

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Student Records Policy FAQ

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Question: May information identified as "directory information" be disclosed without consent?


Yes: FERPA authorizes the University to make public disclosure, upon request, of information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

Question: May a student restrict the release of directory information?


Yes: To withold disclosure of directory information, written notification must be received in the Registrar's Office. The restriction will be in force permanently, until recinded by the student, in person with photo ID, or in writing with the student's signature witnessed by a notary public.

Question: Are student addresses and telephone numbers releasable infomation?


Yes: Student addresses and telephone numbers are releasable unless the student has filed a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form with the Registrar's Office.

Question: Is a student's class schedule releasable information?


No: A student's class schedule may only be released with the specific, written, signed authorization of the student.

Question: Do directory information restrictions remain in force at WOU for former students who have stopped attending?


Yes: Directory restrictions remain in force until removed by the student even after attendance has ceased.

Question: Does any university faculty member have the right to view the education records of any WOU student?


No: A faculty member or any other university official must demonstrate a legitimate educational interest in the information in order to gain access.

Question: Does a police officer conducting a criminal investigation always have the right to access student education records?


No: A law enforcement official must present one of the following in order to have access to education records: a specific written, signed release from the student; a valid subpoena; or judicial order. In the case of a valid subpoena or judicial order, the university will notify the student before releasing the information unless the subpoena or judicial order appropriately specifies nondisclosure.

Question: Are grades, GPA, and academic standing all releasable information?


No: Grades, GPA, and academic standing may only be released with the specific, written, signed authorization of the student.

Question: Must instructors assign randomly generated identifiers to students in order to post grades on their office doors or websites for students in their classes?


Yes: Personally identifiable student information not classified as directory information under the Student Records Policy - including grades - is not to be made accessible to the public - including classmates - without specific written, signed consent of the student.

Question: Is student participation on the WOU football team releasable information?


Yes: Participation in recognized university activities is releasable unless a student has filed a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form with the Registrar's Office.

Question: May a transcript of a student's academic record be sent to the student's parents without the student's consent if the student was claimed as a dependent on the parent's last tax return?


No: FERPA allows, but does not require, schools to recognize dependency for tax purposes as an exception to parental access to education records. However, the Western Oregon University Student Records Policy adheres to the basic FERPA principle that, upon enrollment at an institution of higher education, all education record access rights are conferred upon the student.

Question: Do parents have a right to their student's academic records if they pay the student's tuition?


No: Once enrolled at the university, students control parental access to their records.


University Registrar ph: (503) 838-8327; fax: (503) 838-9696 | or e-mail: registrar@wou.edu

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