FERPA Privacy Laws
Warner Pacific University abides by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Sec. 438, PUB. L90-247, as amended, which sets forth requirements for the protection of students’ rights and privacy in their educational records. This statement serves as notice to all students of their rights under the law.
FERPA provides regulations concerning a student’s education record, which consists of all records directly related to a student and maintained by Warner Pacific University, with the following exceptions: the FERPA education record does not include law enforcement records, non-student employment records, medical/psychological treatment records, alumni records, or records kept in the sole possession of the maker.
FERPA regulations include some important definitions, including directory information, school officials, and legitimate educational interest.
The student’s education record is divided into two parts: directory information and confidential information.
Directory information is considered to be publicly available and may be released without the student’s consent. At Warner Pacific University, the directory information consists of the following:
- Address (local and home)
- E-mail address (WPU and personal)
- Telephone number (local, home, and cellular)
- Date of birth
- Most recent educational institution attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Academic program of study
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, etc)
- Class standing (freshman, sophomore, etc)
- Expected date of graduation
- Degrees conferred and date of conferral
- Academic honors and awards received (dean’s list, cum laude, etc)
All other parts of the student’s education record are considered confidential, including (but not limited to) ethnicity, gender, religion, WPU ID number, social security number, class schedule, grades, GPA, transcripts, advising records, financial records, and disciplinary records.
A school official at Warner Pacific University is:
- A person employed by the university as an administrator, faculty, or staff member;
- A student employed by the university to assist an administrator, faculty, or staff member in fulfillment of his/her professional duties;
- A person employed by, or under contract to, the university to perform a special task, such as an attorney or an auditor;
- A person or organization acting as an official agent of the university and performing a business function or service on behalf of the university;
- A member of an official university committee (may include student members); or
- A person serving on the university Board of Trustees.
Legitimate Educational Interest
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review the student’s education record in order to:
- Perform appropriate tasks that are specified in his/her position description or by a contract agreement;
- Perform a task related to the student’s education;
- Perform a task related to the student’s discipline; or
- Provide a service or benefit relating to the student such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
What FERPA means for Parents
According to FERPA, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student’s education record from a college or university. In compliance with this federal law, WPU will release confidential information from the student’s education records to parents only under the following circumstances:
- Upon the written consent of the student, renewed yearly. WPU provides the that students can sign to provide this consent.
- Upon the provision of a copy of the most recent Federal Income Tax form showing that the student was claimed as a financial dependent.
- In compliance with a lawfully issued (by judge or attorney) subpoena.
What FERPA means for Students
Your FERPA rights begin on the first day that you attend class at Warner Pacific University. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review education records. A student who wishes to review the education record should submit the request to the Registrar in writing. The Registrar will determine a reasonable timeline for access, make arrangements for access, and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request an amendment of an education record that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to request an amendment to the education record should submit a request to the Registrar in writing. If Warner Pacific University decides not to amend the record as requested, the student will be notified of the decision in writing. Please note: FERPA is concerned with accuracy. FERPA does not provide a process for questioning substantive decisions that are correctly recorded, such as a grade that is accurately entered on the student’s transcript but with which the student disagrees.
- The right to suppress the disclosure of directory information (see definition), provided that the request is submitted while the student is enrolled. A student who wishes to exercise this right should submit to the Registrar a completed “Request to Withhold Directory Information” form, available at the Records Office.
- The right to provide written consent before Warner Pacific University discloses confidential information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Please note that Warner Pacific University discloses confidential information from education records without prior written consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests (see definition) and under additional FERPA provisions authorizing disclosure without consent. A full description of all authorized exceptions for disclosure may be obtained from the Registrar.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Warner Pacific University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The Family Policy Compliance Office administers FERPA and any complaints may be filed at the following address: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-5901.