The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.
Iowa Wesleyan University has the responsibility for effectively supervising any access to and/or release of official data/information about its students. Certain items of information about individual students are fundamental to the educational process and must be recorded. This recorded information concerning students must be used only for clearly–defined academic purposes, must be safeguarded and controlled to avoid violations of personal privacy, and must be appropriately disposed of when the justification for its collection and retention no longer exists.
In this regard, the University is committed to protecting, to the maximum extent possible, the right of privacy of all individuals about whom it holds information, records, and files. Access to and release of such records is restricted to the students concerned, to others with the student’s written consent, to officials within the University, to a court of record, and to other agencies required by law.
For purposes of access to records at Iowa Wesleyan University, students enrolled (or formerly enrolled) for academic credit or audit shall have access to their official records. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
Students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
The name and position of the official responsible for the maintenance of each type of educational record may be obtained from the Registrar. A request for access to official data maintained in a particular office may be made to the administrative head of that office (Registrar’s Office or Office of Student Development).
When a student (or former student) appears at the appropriate office (Registrar or Office of Student Development) and requests, in writing, access to the University’s records about herself or himself,
- The student must provide proper identification verifying that he/she is the person whose records are being accessed. The designated staff person(s) must supervise the review of the contents of the record with the student.
- Inspection and review shall be permitted within a period not to exceed 45 days from the date of the student’s request.
- The student will be free to make notes, or for a reasonable administrative fee may be charged for providing copies of items in the file, but no material will be removed from the record at the time.
Record keeping personnel and members of the faculty and staff with an administrative assignment may have access to records and files for internal educational purposes as well as for routinely necessary clerical, administrative and statistical purposes as required by the duties of their jobs.
RELEASE OF INFORMATION
Except with the prior written consent of the student (or former student) concerned, or parents of dependent students, or as required by federal and state law, no information in any student file may be released to any individual (including parents, spouse, or other students) or organization with the exception of information defined as “public information.”
Unless the student has officially filed a request with the Office of Student Development that disclosure not be made without his written permission, the following items are considered public information.
- Student’s name.
- Local address, phone number, and e-mail address.
- Home address (permanent).
- Date and place of birth.
- Parents’ or guardians’ names and addresses.
- Classification (year in school).
- Curriculum (majors) and (minors).
- Affirmation of whether currently enrolled.
- Dates of enrollment.
- Degrees received.
- Honor(s) received.
- The most recent previous educational agency or educational institution attended by the student.
- Participation in recognized organizations, activities, and sports.
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams.
When disclosure of any personally identifiable data/information from University records about a student is demanded pursuant to court order or lawfully issued subpoena, the staff member receiving such order shall immediately notify the student concerned, in writing, prior to compliance with such order of subpoena. Information from University records may be released to appropriate persons in connection with an emergency if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons.
LETTERS OF APPRAISAL
Candid appraisals and evaluations of performance and potential are an essential part of the educational process. Clearly, the provision of such information to prospective employers, to other educational institutions, or to other legitimately concerned outside individuals and agencies is necessary and in the interest of the particular student.
Data/information which was a part of the University records prior to January 1, 1975, and which was collected and maintained as confidential information, will not be disclosed to students. Should a student desire access to a confidential letter of appraisal received prior to January 1, 1975, the student shall be advised to have the writer of that appraisal notify, in writing, the concerned records custodian of the decision as to whether or not the writer is willing to have the appraisal made available for the student’s review. Unless a written response is received approving a change of status in the letter, the treatment of the letter as a confidential document shall continue.
Documents of appraisal relating to students collected by the University on or after January 1, 1975, will be confidentially maintained only if a waiver of the right of access has been executed by the student. In the absence of such a waiver, all such documents will be available for student review.
CHALLENGES TO THE RECORD
Every student shall have the opportunity to challenge any item in the file which he/she considers to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data. A student shall initiate a challenge by submitting a request, in writing, for the deletion or correction of the particular item. The request shall be made to the custodian of the particular record in question. If the custodian and the student involved are unable to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of both parties, the written request for deletion or correction shall be submitted by the student to the Provost, who shall serve as the hearing officer. The student shall be given the opportunity for a hearing, at which the student may present oral or written justification for the request for deletion or correction. The hearing officer may obtain such other information as he deems appropriate for use in the hearing and shall give the student a written decision on the matter within 30 days from the conclusion of the meeting. Grades may be challenged under this procedure only on the basis of the accuracy of their transcription.
The foregoing statement represents an extract of the most salient provisions of the official University policy, a full copy of which is on file with the Provost, the Registrar, and the Dean of Student Development. The complete policy may be examined by interested persons in these offices during normal office hours. The University policy becomes effective immediately, but should be regarded as tentative, pending the issuance of federal regulations and guidelines or amendments in the applicable laws.