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Privacy of Educational Records

Privacy of Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records and provides students the following rights with respect to their education records:

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
Students should submit to the Registrar, Dean, Department Chair or Program Director, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for, and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. 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 his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
NOTE: FERPA is not a grade-appeal law. The right to challenge grades under FERPA is limited to situations where the grade assigned was inaccurately recorded.

3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosures without consent.

FERPA allows the University to disclose records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

•   Nebraska Wesleyan University officials with a legitimate educational interest*
•   Other schools to which a student is requesting transfer or enrollment
•   Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
•   Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
•   Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
•   Accrediting organizations
•   To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
•   Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies

FERPA permits the University to disclose educational record information to a student’s parent or guardian if the student is their dependent for federal tax purposes. (**See Parental or Third Party Access to Academic Records)

FERPA also allows the University to disclose directory information without the written consent of the student. Directory information is information that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Nebraska Wesleyan University has designated the following as directory information:

  • Name
  • Addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Student Level and Classification at Nebraska Wesleyan
  • Degree programs, certificate programs, majors, and minors declared at Nebraska Wesleyan
  • Dates of attendance at Nebraska Wesleyan, enrollment status, and anticipated graduation date
  • Degrees, certificates, and awards received at Nebraska Wesleyan
  • Institutions attended prior to admission to Nebraska Wesleyan
  • Participation in recognized activities and sports at Nebraska Wesleyan
  • Photographs taken and maintained by the University
  • Weight and height of members of Nebraska Wesleyan athletic teams

Students have the right to withhold disclosure of this directory information. Students must complete the Request to Envoke or Revoke FERPA Block of Directory Information if they do not wish directory information to be released. Blocking your directory information does have downsides. NWU cannot verify your enrollment to insurance companies or others that need enrollment verification. Potential employers cannot verify your enrollment or awarded degree which can slow the application and acceptance process. If you make the academic honors list, we cannot publish your name on the NWU website or in hometown newspapers. When graduating, your name will not be included in the commencement program and your name will not be listed in the newspaper with the rest of the NWU graduates. The directory information restriction remains in effect until you remove it though the above form.

Students can grant access academic or financial records to a parent, guardian, or other person through Self-Service. The student can determine if they want to provide the person with access to student account (tuition and billing), student records (grades and academic information), or financial aid records.

FERPA requires the University to record the disclosure of information to third parties, except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to judicial orders and subpoenas, disclosures of directory information and disclosures to the student. Students may inspect and review the record of such disclosures.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Phone: 1-800-872-5327

* A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including security and student health personnel); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (including attorneys, auditors, collection agency, the National Student Clearinghouse); a person serving on the Board of Governors; or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

**Parental or Third Party Access to Academic Records

All academic information is sent directly to students. Therefore, parents should establish communication with their sons and daughters if they wish to be informed about their students’ schedule and academic progress. Under FERPA, parents of Nebraska Wesleyan students may request in writing and receive their son or daughter’s grade information if the student has granted NWU authorization or after providing proof that the student is a dependent and is claimed as a tax exemption. Also, a student may grant a parent (or other third party) access to his/her academic and financial records through his/her Self-Service account.