Notice to Students of Privacy Rights
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law that states: (a) that a written institutional policy must be established; and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students must be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.
Central Washington University (CWU) accords all the rights under this law to students who are declared independent. No one outside of the institution shall be permitted access to – nor will the institution disclose any information from - a student’s educational records without his/her written consent. Exception include disclosure of necessary information to personnel within the institution, to officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons. All these exceptions are permitted under FERPA.
Within the CWU community, only those members (individually or collectively) acting in the student’s educational interest(s) are allowed access to student educational records. These members include personnel in offices defined by the institution, e.g., offices of Admissions, Career Services, Financial Aid and Registrar Services, along with specific academic personnel within their need-to-know limitations.
At its discretion, the institution may provide directory information in accordance with the FERPA provisions including: student name, hometown, address, date of birth, university address and telephone number, dates of attendance, class, major field of study, previous institution(s) attended, awards, honors (includes honor roll), degree(s) conferred (including dates) and participation in officially recognized sports and activities. Students may stipulate the withholding of their directory information by notifying the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, CWU, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA, 98926-7432. Notification must be made in writing within the first two weeks after fall quarter classes begin. The University will honor requests for such non-disclosure for only one academic year. Authorization to withhold directory information must be filed annually in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records, to challenge the content and accuracy of those records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory and, if they believe the decisions of the hearing panel are unacceptable, to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files. The University’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management has been designated by the institution to coordinate inspection and review procedures for student educational records, which include admission, personal, academic and placement records. Students wishing to review their educational records must make written requests to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by FERPA will be made available within forty-five (45) days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial hold exists or a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere). These copies can be made at the studentss expense, at the prevailing rates listed by the Office of Registrar Services.
Educational records do not include records of instructional, administrative and educational personnel which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students choosing. Students may not inspect or review the following as outlined by the Act: financial information submitted by their parents, confidential letters and recommendations associated with admission, employment or job placement, honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review, or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to the part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student. The University is not required to permit students to inspect and review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided those letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purpose for which they were collected.
Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or are otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management (or the vice president’s designee). If the decisions are in agreement with the student’s requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended and they will then be informed by the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management (or the vice president’s designee) of their right to a formal hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, which, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the student’s expense. The vice president for student affairs and enrollment management will appoint the panel, which will adjudicate such challenges.
The decision of the hearing panel will be final. It will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and state the reasons for the decision, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The educational records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel, if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place within his or her educational records comments on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreement with the decision(s) of the hearing panel. The statement will be placed in the educational records and maintained as part of the student’s records. It will be released whenever the records in questions are disclosed.
A student who believes the adjudications of his or her challenge was unfair, or not in keeping with FERPA provisions, may request in writing assistance from the University’s president (or designee). Further, students who believe that their rights have been abridged, may file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C. 20201, concerning the alleged failure of Central Washington University to comply with FERPA.