FERPA – Your Rights As A Student

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 the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

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 name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Date of birth (month and day only)
  • Designation of school/college (year in school)
  • Enrollment status (including semester credit load and part/full time status)
  • Major field of study
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Height and weight of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and dates of graduation including anticipated graduation dates
  • Awards received, including academic awards
  • Previous institutions attended

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
  • Place of birth
  • 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 Organization and Advising Resource (SOAR) Office to request student directory information. The SOAR office is located in the UWM Student Union, Room E310.

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.

To Restrict or Not To Restrict

When choosing to restrict your information, be careful as there are consequences for ANY decision to remove directory information from the lists of information available to the public. Should you decide to restrict the release of ALL PUBLIC INFORMATION, any future requests for such information from any non-University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee parties will be expressly refused. For example:

  • The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could not release your telephone number to an acquaintance wishing to notify the student of a serious illness or crisis in the family.
  • A prospective employer requesting degree confirmation of your major field of study, address or date of birth would also be denied access to such items.
  • Your name would not appear in the commencement brochure.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will honor your request to withhold all of the items of public records information listed, but cannot assume responsibility to contact a student for subsequent permission to release the information. If you wish to restrict all public information in your educational record, you must file a Student Record Data Change Form available in the Enrollment Services Information Center (Mellencamp Hall 274).

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 Department of Enrollment Services, school or college dean, major department, Student Financial Services, Dean of Students or Residence Halls.

Disclosure of Information

Should you wish to release non-directory information contained within your educational records to third parties, you can complete the FERPA Student Consent form and submit it to whatever UWM school, college or department holds the information you wish to release. This form must be completed and submitted every time you wish to give permission to disclose education records.

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.