The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects student educational record information.
The law also gives individual students certain rights:
- the right to inspect and review education records,
- the right to seek the amendment of education records,
- the right to consent to the disclosure of education records except under certain limited circumstances,
- the right to obtain a copy of the school’s FERPA policy,
- the right to file a complaint with the FERPA office in Washington, D.C.
Student Directory Information
While most information about a student is considered private and no one other than school officials (faculty and staff) with a legitimate educational interest may have access to it without the written consent of the student, certain categories of information designated as “directory information” may be disclosed by Washington University without obtaining the prior consent of the student.
Through WebSTAC, WashU students may specify their preferences regarding the release of directory information.
Included in the directory information designation are:
- full name,
- home and local addresses and telephone numbers,
- email address,
- photographic, video or electronic image (picture),
- academic division and major field of study,
- dates of attendance,
- previous schools attended,
- graduation dates and degrees received at Washington University,
- class (affiliated degree year),
- academic awards,
- participation in intercollegiate activities, and
- height and weight (NCAA Division III athletes only).
View the full text of the FERPA policy at Washington University.
Privacy Information for Families
As provided by federal law in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the university can release information about a student’s academic record if the student has submitted a signed consent form. That said, the university encourages students to share with their families information about their education, rather than rely on this approach. The university may engage with parents when students have violated the standards put forward in the code of conduct. The university may engage with parents in instances of underage drinking, drug violations, sexual misconduct or acts of violence. Except where the student’s health or safety is at risk, students will participate in the judicial process before parents are informed of infringements.
Consent to Release
Under the FERPA policy, students can sign the consent to release form and designate certain information to be shared with individual people. The form requires a student signature and detailed information on what information the student would like to release.
- Current and former students have a right to request to view their educational records within 45 days after the request is submitted to OUR.
- A FERPA restriction remains on the student record indefinitely and can prevent the university from being able to verify attendance and educational credentials. Only a student can adjust the FERPA restriction by contacting OUR to make the update.
- OUR recommends students approaching graduation consider whether to retain FERPA restrictions for this reason. Contact us with questions.
- FERPA preferences cannot be adjusted on behalf of the student; only the student can submit a consent to release form indicating what information can be shared with whom.
- Parents or family members may not have access to student records without consent even if the student is a financial dependent.
- Under FERPA, faculty and staff with access to student information may access it only to perform required job tasks. Under FERPA, faculty and staff may not disclose personally identifiable student information from a student’s record unless sharing with other school officials with “legitimate educational interests”.
- This applies to all WashU students pursing credit bearing courses or degree seeking programs whether remote or on campus.
- Student records or academic performance should not be shared with student’s family member(s) unless a signed and dated consent form from the student, providing permission for WashU to release the specified information to the specific individual is on file. A student’s consent mean that we may discuss the educational record, not that we must.
- When in doubt, contact a school official or OUR for guidance.
FERPA Consent to Release Form
The FERPA consent to release form may be used to give required permission to a school official to directly release information from your student record to a non-WashU individual or organization. This should be used when it is important that the individual or organization hear directly from WashU; students are encouraged to share information directly with their families, rather than rely on this type of release although this may be used for that purpose as well. Submitting this form allows but does not require WashU to release information.
All fields and rows must be filled out completely. Students must include details of which portion of their record can be released, for example: “my academic standing” or “my performance in XX major or Course in XX semester” (useful if you wish someone to give a recommendation to a potential employer). Instructors do not typically engage directly with third parties; if you have questions about completing this form correctly please contact OUR or an advisor with questions. This consent to release information can be revoked by emailing the Office of the University Registrar from you WU email.
This form may be submitted in-person at OUR or submitted with a digital signature from a WashU email account.