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Student Records Policy

What is FERPA?

FERPA is the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It was signed into law in 1974. It is a federal law that governs the privacy, release, and appropriate use of student educational records by WOU, staff, faculty, and third-party service providers engaged by the university.

Responsibility for oversight of FERPA compliance rests with the Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office.

Directory Information

Directory Information:

FERPA authorizes the University to make public disclosure at its discretion, upon request, of directory information.

The following is directory information at WOU:

  • Student’s full name
  • Student’s photograph
  • Place of birth
  • Local address and telephone number
  • Permanent address and telephone number
  • Billing address
  • Class level (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate student)
  • Degree, major, minor, concentration, or certificate being pursued
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Degrees, honors, & certificates applied for or awarded (& award date)
  • Earned credit hours
  • WOU Email Address (subject to restrictions under state law)
  • Enrollment status (full-time, half-time, less than half-time)
  • Whether a student has applied for graduation
  • Participation in official recognized activities and sports
  • Height & weight of athletic team members
  • Job title and dates of WOU student employment
  • Most recent educational institution attended

Non-Directory Information

Non-directory information may not be disclosed without the express detailed written consent of the student. Non-directory information is any part of students’ education records not designated as “directory information”.

Examples of non-directory information are:

  • Class schedule (course reference numbers, meeting times, locations)
  • Classes enrolled in
  • WOU student ID number (V#)
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • GPA or Grades
  • Transcripts (official or unofficial)
  • Academic standing or eligibility to return to school
  • Gender
  • Parent names or parent addresses
  • Class rank
  • Unmet degree requirements for graduation
  • Accounts receivable balance
  • Financial records of parents
  • Copies of transcripts from other schools
  • Copies of test scores (CLEP, TOEFL, AP, IB)
  • Residency status
  • VA or Social Security status
  • Counseling or medical records
Restricting the Release of Your Information

FERPA affords students the right to opt-out of the disclosure of directory information. Institutional authority to release student directory information without consent is nullified when a student opts-out of disclosure of their directory information. Students that opt-out are identifiable in university systems by the designator “confidential”.

Absolutely no information may be provided to anyone – parents, relatives, friends, other students, or prospective employers – about a student that has elected confidentiality for their records. This includes if the individual is or was a student, has ever enrolled in classes, or has earned a degree at Western Oregon University.

Once a student restricts the release of directory information, in order to conduct any business with the university, the student must be logged in to a secure university system (WOU email is consider one such system), appear in person with photo ID, or, via mail or fax, provide a notarized written request for release containing the following:

  • What information is to be released (be as specific as possible)
  • To whom the information is to be released (name, address)
  • The purpose for which it is to be released (application for a specific job or admission to a graduate program, for example)
  • Student signature and date signed

Restricted Directory Information is made available only where an emergency is involved, at the direction of a court order, or to Western Oregon University staff and faculty with a legitimate educational need to know.

To prevent the disclosure of your directory information.

  1. Complete a Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form
  2. Submit the form in-person with picture identification or have the form notarized.
  3. The form is submitted to the Office of the Registrar, Administration Building Room 106, 345 North Monmouth Ave, Monmouth, OR 97361
  4. Photo identification or a notarized written request is required (and will be required for all future information requests).

A request to place or remove the restriction is effective no later than two working days after it is received in the Office of the Registrar. Submission of a Records Confidentiality Request form does not affect directory information already published or released.

The restriction of information is permanent until the student requests, in writing, that it be removed. The restriction will remain in place even after the student has stopped attending or has graduated from the university.

Definitions
Functional definitions of the most commonly used terms used in administering FERPA at the university.

 

Confidentiality or Opt-Out: The student has the right to opt-out of allowing the institution to disclose directory information. In university systems these students are designated as “confidential”. Absolutely no information can be shared about students that opt-out.

Directory Information: Student information designated by WOU to not be “considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed”. The institution is not obligated to disclose directory information.

Disclosure: “Means to permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records by any means, including oral, written, or electronic means…”.

DOE: U.S. Department of Education

Education Records: Records that are “directly related to a student; and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.”

FPCO: Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education. The FPCO is empowered to “Investigate, process, and review complaints and violations”. 

Legitimate Educational Interests: Otherwise referred to as ‘educational need to know” exists when a designated school official requires access to particular educational records for the purpose of completing their function or service for the institution.

Non-Directory Information: Any part of students’ education records not designated as “directory information”.

PII: Personally Identifiable Information is “information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student” including “information requested by a person” that the institution “believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates”.

School Official: An individual or contractor providing a function or service to the university. School Officials only have “legitimate educational interests” in records required to perform their designated function/service.