Student Privacy Rights (FERPA)
FERPA can be summarized by the following two points:
Right to inspect and review the records
A student may request access to review and inspect their educational records by writing to the University official (i.e., registrar, dean, department chair, or other appropriate UW-Madison person/office) responsible for the records. The written request must indicate the records the student wishes to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct person or office to whom the request should be addressed and it becomes the student’s responsibility to submit the request to that person or office. Upon receipt of the written request, the University official has 45 days to comply. FERPA does not provide the student with the right to access certain records, including but not limited to financial records of a parent, and confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment or honorary recognition which the student has waived the right to inspect and review.
Right to seek to have the records amended or corrected
A student has the right to request an amendment of their educational record that is believed to be inaccurate. However, FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used by the student to question substantive judgments that are correctly recorded. The FERPA rights of challenge are not intended to allow a student to contest, for example, a grade in a course because they felt a higher grade should have been assigned. FERPA is intended to ensure the factual and accurate nature of the information in the student’s educational records and the student’s right to verify that information.In those cases where FERPA intended to provide a student the right to request an amendment to an educational record, the student should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of this right.
Right to control disclosure of certain portions of the records
Students wishing to restrict some or all directory information should log on to Student Center from My UW, click on ‘Privacy’ under Personal Information, then click on the ‘FERPA Restriction’ tab. Even though a student may have placed a FERPA hold, the university has the right to share the student’s information with school officials who have a legitimate educational interest.
Right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education
More information can be found at the U.S. Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office.