Family educational rights and privacy act ferpa
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Family educational rights and privacy act ferpa



What is ferpa


  • FERPA, or the “Buckley Amendment,” is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. To establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational record, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education*.

  • Whitworth University has adopted the following policies and procedures to protect the privacy of education records. Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in the student handbook, the university catalog, or the schedule of courses.


Whitworth university definitions

Whitworth University Definitions

  • Student – any person who attends, or has attended, the university

  • Education Record - any record, with certain exceptions, maintained by the university which is directly related to a student

  • Personally Identifiable – means data or information which includes (1) name of the student, the student’s parents, or other family members; (2) the student’s campus or home address; (3) personal identifier (such as social security number or student number); (4) list of personal characteristics or other information which would make the student’s identity easily traceable

  • School Official – can be a person (1) employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position; (2) elected to the board of trustees; (3) or company employed by or under contract to the college to perform a special task; (4) student serving on an official committee

Education record exceptions

Education Record Exceptions

  • Personal records kept by Whitworth employees, which are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or to be revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute;

  • Employment records, unless the employment records are contingent on the fact that the employee is a student;

  • Records maintained by campus security solely for law-enforcement purposes;

  • Records maintained by counseling services or the health center. (Health records may be reviewed by a physician or another appropriate professional of the student's choosing);

  • Pastoral counseling records maintained by the dean of the chapel.

  • Alumni records.

Types locations and custodians of education records

Types, Locations, and Custodians of Education Records:

  • The following is a list of the types of education records that Whitworth University maintains, as well as their locations and their custodians.

Procedure to inspect education records

Procedure to Inspect Education Records

  • Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate record custodian. Students should submit in writing their request, which identifies as precisely as possible the records they wish to inspect. The custodian will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

  • Access will be allowed for no more than 45 days after receipt of the written request. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records that relate to him or her.

Right of the university to refuse access

Right of the University to Refuse Access

Whitworth University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following records:

1. The financial statement(s) of the student's parents;

2. Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were placed in the file before Jan. 1, 1975;

3. Records connected with an application to attend Whitworth University if that application was denied;

4. Education records including information about more than one student, in which case Whitworth will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student;

5. Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records.

Right of the university to refuse to provide copies

Right of the University to Refuse to Provide Copies

Whitworth University reserves the right to deny copies of transcripts, diplomas and other records (not required to be made available under FERPA), if the student has an overdue financial obligation to the university or if there is an unresolved disciplinary or academic-dishonesty action against the student.

Contact the registrar's office (509.777.3201) for applicable fees for copies of records.

Disclosure of education records

Disclosure of Education Records

Whitworth University will disclose information from a student's education records only with the written consent of the student, except:

  • To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records;A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

    • Performing a task that is specific in his or her job description or by a contract agreement; or

    • Performing a task related to a student's education; or

    • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student; or

    • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as healthcare, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

Disclosure of education records cont

Disclosure of Education Records (cont.)

  • To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

  • To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the comptroller general, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.

  • In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

  • If required by a state law requiring disclosure that was adopted before Nov. 19, 1974.

  • To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university.

  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.

  • To parents who claim the student as a dependent for income-tax purposes.

Disclosure of education records cont1

Disclosure of Education Records (cont.)

  • To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena after a reasonable attempt to notify the student.

  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.

  • To an alleged victim of any crime of violence or sexual harassment offense, the rinal results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator with respect to that crime or offense

  • To military recruiters

Record of requests for disclosure

Record of Requests for Disclosure

Whitworth University will maintain a record of all requests for and/or disclosure of information from a student's education records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be redisclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. The record may be reviewed by the student.

Directory information

Directory Information

  • Whitworth University designates the following student information as public or "directory information." Such information may be disclosed by the institution at its discretion.

Use of student photographs

Use of Student Photographs *

Photographers employed or contracted by the university regularly take photographs of students to illustrate or describe various aspects of the university and campus life. These photographs will be taken at public venues such as athletic events and concerts and in other organized campus photo shoots where the subjects will have given verbal consent to be photographed. Individuals who are photographed while attending a public event or who verbally agree to participate in a photo shoot will be understood to have authorized Whitworth to use their likeness in print and electronic materials to promote the institution. The university will retain the usage rights to the photographs in perpetuity.

Request to withhold disclosure

Request to Withhold Disclosure

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of the above information. The request to withhold disclosure should be submitted to the registrar's office by the second week of the semester. Directory information will then be withheld indefinitely until the registrar's office receives in writing a revocation of the request for nondisclosure. Whitworth will honor a request to withhold information but cannot assume responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release them. A request to withhold directory information will prevent the student's name and degree from being published on the Dean's Honor Roll and in the commencement program. Regardless of the effect upon the student, the institution assumes no liability as a consequence of honoring instructions that directory information be withheld. Whitworth University assumes that failure on the part of any student to request specifically the withholding of categories of "directory information" indicates approval for disclosure.

Correction of education records

Correction of Education Records

  • If students believe that any information contained in their education records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights, they may request in writing that the office which contains those records amend them. Students should identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why they believe it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights.

Correction of education records cont

Correction of Education Records (cont.)

  • That office will reach a decision and inform students in a reasonable amount of time after receiving the request. If the records custodian refuses to amend the record, students have the right to a hearing. This hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer appointed by the vice president in the appropriate division of the university. The hearing officer will be someone who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. However, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The hearing will be held within a reasonable amount of time after the request for a hearing has been made. The hearing officer will notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.

Correction of education records cont1

Correction of Education Records (cont.)

  • Students will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. Students may be accompanied by one or more other persons, including an attorney. The hearing officer/board will make its decision in writing based on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.

Correction of education records cont2

Correction of Education Records (cont.)

  • If the hearing officer/board supports the complaint, the education record will be amended accordingly and students will be so informed. If the hearing officer/board decides not to amend the education record, students have the right to place in the education record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or stating the reasons for disagreeing with the decision. This statement will be maintained as part of the education record as long as the contested portion is maintained, and whenever a copy of the education record is sent to any party, the student's statement will be included.

Key concepts

Key Concepts

  • Required annual notification

  • Written permission of student required to disclose

  • The exceptions to written permission

  • Student’s right to access their records

  • Correction of Education records process

For more information on ferpa and student s rights

For more information on FERPA and Student’s Rights

Please contact Whitworth University’s Registrar’s Office

300 W Hawthorne Rd

Spokane, WA 99251

McEachran Hall

(509) 777-3205

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