Sharing and Protecting Your Information

UWM does its part to keep your information safe. Under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privileges Act, you have options for sharing or withholding your information.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended requires that you be advised of your rights concerning your education records and of certain categories of public information which the university has designated “directory information.” This information will help you learn more about what your rights are, provide your parents with a resource to help them understand FERPA and assist you in understanding what UWM faculty and staff are required to do to protect your privacy.

FERPA governs and protects your rights to your individual educational records. The primary rights protected under FERPA are:

  • Students’ rights to review and inspect their educational records;
  • Students’ rights to have their educational records amended or corrected;
  • Students’ rights to control disclosure of certain portions of their educational records
Notification of Rights Under FERPA
UW-Milwaukee and all institutions of higher education are required to notify our enrolled students at least annually of their rights under FERPA. See the full annual disclosure text.

Educational Records
Educational records are all the records maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee about individual students, with seven exceptions:

  • Personal notes of UWM faculty and staff
  • Employment records
  • Medical and counseling records used solely for treatment
  • Campus Security records
  • Financial records of a parent or spouse
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in your records before January 1, 1975
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment or honorary recognition placed in your records after January 1, 1975, for which you have waived the right to inspect and review
Directory Information (Public Records)
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in accordance with FERPA, has designated the following categories of information about individual students as public, or directory information. This information will be routinely released to any inquirer unless you specifically request that all of the items on the following list be withheld:

  • Student’s name, address (mailing, home, email), telephone number;
  • Date (month and day) and place of birth;
  • Designation of school/college and level in school;
  • Major field of study;
  • Dates of attendance, including whether or not currently enrolled;
  • Enrollment status, including semester credit load and part/full time status;
  • Degrees earned and dates of graduation (includes anticipated graduation dates);
  • Honors and awards received, including academic awards (receipt of a scholarship or fellowship, inclusion on the Dean’s list, or receipt of other academic awards);
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams;
  • Previous higher education institutions attended;
  • Enrollment Delivery Mode.
Non-Directory Information (Private Records)
The following categories of information are considered private, or protected, by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:

  • Social Security Number
  • Campus identification number
  • Age/year of birth
  • Gender
  • Residency status
  • Marital status
  • Married name or previous name
  • Parent/guardian name(s) and address(es)
  • High school units
  • Transfer credits
  • Courses completed
  • Grades
  • Credits, and grade points
  • Grade point average and rank in class
  • Current class schedule
  • Advisor’s name
  • Academic actions
  • Current disciplinary actions

Private Records are releasable only to the following parties:

  • Individual students
  • Dean’s Office
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee departments
  • Individuals with an educational need-to-know
Who Can Request Access?
Under FERPA, prior written consent must be obtained before your educational record may be disclosed to a third party, unless they are exempted from this provision. Information will be released without your prior written consent to the following groups or individuals:

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty and staff with legitimate educational need to know.
  • Representatives of agencies or organizations from which you have received financial aid, including banks or other lending agencies from which you have guaranteed student loans.
  • Officials of other educational institutions in which you intend to enroll.
  • Individuals or groups specifically exempted from the prior consent requirement.
  • Federal and state officials and organizations conducting studies on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and accrediting organizations.

Note: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student organizations seeking student information must contact the Student Involvement Office to request student directory information.

Instances in which prior written consent is not required:

  • Requests in connection with an emergency, if such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of you or another person.
  • Requests in accordance with a lawful subpoena or court order.
  • Requests for public records information (see above), if not restricted by you.
Location of Records
Educational records are not stored in a central location on campus. Requests to review your records must be made in writing and presented to the appropriate office. That office will have up to 45 days to honor your request. For most students these offices will include the Registrar’s Office, the Department of Financial Aid, the Bursar’s Office, school or college dean, major department, Dean of Students or Residence Halls.

Correction of Information
A student may request to have records corrected that they believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. To request a change, the student must contact their school/college.

Granting Access to Private Records
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), college students are allowed to determine whether third parties (parents, employers, etc.) may access protected information about them.  UWM provides two primary ways for students to provide third parties with access to their information: PAWS Designate Access, and Student Consent Release.

PAWS Designate Access

Students have the ability to grant access to his/her record within PAWS by creating a Designate Access account. The account allows access to To Do Lists, Financials (including making payments and viewing Financial Aid), and Grades.

Creating a Designate Account
  1. Under Personal Information, click “Student Information Release”
  2. Click “Designate Access”
  3. Read privacy information and click “I agree to these conditions.”
  4. Click “Create Account.”
  5. Enter a name in “This Account Is For.”
  6. Create a password.
  7. Choose what information this new account may access by selecting “Give Access” or “Deny Access” in the drop-down menu for all items. Click “Save.”
    • A message will appear confirming that the account has been set up.
    • To add another account, click “Create Account” and follow the same process.

Once you have created an additional account, two e-mails will be sent to your UWM email account with the account ID and password. It is your responsibility to pass on this information to the account holder. You will receive two new e-mails each time an account is created or updated. Each student may have a maximum of three additional accounts at any time.

Information Provided to Designate Accounts
When you create a designate account, you have the ability to choose what information the account holder can view. Access may be granted as follows:

  • To Do Lists (provides items that applicants or students need to complete for a specific department on campus. For example, submitting a high school transcript to Admissions.)
  • View Financials (includes viewing billing information and Financial Aid.  See bill payment options at My Bill & University Finances.)
  • View Grades (includes viewing grades for current as well as previous semesters at UWM.)

Note: This access does not give anyone permission to call the University and ask questions regarding your account.

Who to Give Access To

Whether or not you give access to others is entirely up to you and is not recommended or required by UWM. If you do grant access, do so carefully and only for important reasons. Regardless, you should only give access to people you trust.

Deleting a Designate Access Account
Once an account is created, it can’t be deleted. However, access can be denied or the password can be changed, thereby preventing that account from accessing your information in the future.

  1. Under Personal Information, click “Grant Access to Others.”
  2. View your current accounts.
  3. Select the account you would like to remove.
    • You may either deny access to all areas for the account or change the password for the individual (see “How can I replace one of my old accounts with a new account?”)
  4. Click “Save.”
Replacing an Old Designate Account
  1. Under Personal Information, click “Grant Access to Others.”
  2. View your current accounts.
  3. Select the account you would like to replace.
  4. Click “Reset Password.”
  5. Enter a new name in the “This Account Is For.”
  6. Create a new password.
  7. Confirm the new password.
  8. Choose what areas this new account may access.
  9. Click “Save.”

Note: Account access is not reset by the University. Created accounts will be active for as long as the student’s PAWS account is active. Students are responsible for all updates to logins and passwords for each account.

Restricting Access to Public Records
There are two primary ways to restrict access to your public records:

Directory Restriction
UWM publishes an online directory of students, faculty, staff, departments and campus locations. By default, the directory includes your name, address, phone, UWM Email Address, year in school and degree program. You have the ability to withhold your information from being published in the directory using the following steps:

  1. Log in to PAWS
  2. Under the yellow Personal Information header, click on the blue Change Contact Restriction button
  3. Click the Yes button to make your contact information private, then click Save
Even with a Directory Restriction in place, your directory information (including address and phone) is still available through a public records request. You have the right under FERPA to block the release of your directory (public) information to all third-parties.

Think carefully before electing a FERPA Block. If you opt out, your name will not appear in honor roles or commencement programs, and UWM can’t verify your enrollment.

To opt out, you have to complete and submit this form to the UWM Registrar’s Office.