Whitworth Home Page > Registrar's Office > Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) >
FERPA for Students
What are my FERPA rights?
As a student, you have four primary rights under FERPA, including the right to . . .
- inspect your education records maintained by Whitworth University.
- request that Whitworth University correct any information in your education records that you believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of your privacy rights.
- exercise control over your education records either by release of your student information to parties outside of Whitworth University or to withhold your information from all parties (with certain exceptions, as provided by law).
- file a complaint with the FERPA compliance office at the U.S. Department of Education.
As of Jan. 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. comptroller general, the U.S. attorney general, the U.S. secretary of education, or state and local education authorities (“federal and state authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a federal or state authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, federal and state authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and state authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with statewide longitudinal data systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
When do my FERPA rights begin?
FERPA rights begin when a student begins classes at Whitworth University.
What are education records?
Education records are any records maintained by the university that are directly related to a student, with the following exceptions:
- personal records kept by Whitworth employees that are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible by or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute;
- employment records, unless those records are contingent on the fact that the employee is a student;
- records maintained by campus security solely for law-enforcement purposes;
- records maintained by counseling services or the health center. (Health records may be reviewed by a physician or another appropriate professional of the student's choosing.)
- pastoral counseling records maintained by the dean of the chapel;
- alumni records.
Types, locations, and custodians of education records:
|Financial Aid Records
||Financial Aid Office
|Director of Financial Aid
|Associate Vice President of Finance & Administration
||Faculty office at each academic department or
Office of Academic Affairs McEachran Hall
|Department Assistant or Faculty, and
Associate Provost for
|Learning Disability and Physical Disability Records
Hixson Union Building
|Assistant Director of Career Services
|Academic Dishonesty Records
|Associate Provost for
|Disciplinary and Student Conduct Records
Hixson Union Building
|Vice President for Student Life
What is directory information?
FERPA defines directory information as that information included in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. In accordance with FERPA, Whitworth University designates the following student information as public or directory information. Such information may be disclosed by the institution at its discretion.
- student name
- address and telephone number (including e-mail address)
- class standing (e.g., freshman admitted to a master's program)
- major field of study
- degrees and/or certificates, including conferral dates
- dates of attendance
- names of previous institutions
- awards and honors including Laureate Society
- participation in officially recognized co-curricular activities (e.g., music, sports)
- hometown of participants in co-curricular activities
- height and weight of members of athletic teams
Can a student restrict the release of directory information?
Students may withhold disclosure of directory information. To withhold disclosure, the student must provide written notification to the registrar's office, Whitworth University; 300 W. Hawthorne; Spokane, WA 99251. Directory information will then be withheld indefinitely until the registrar's office receives, in writing, a revocation of the request for non-disclosure. Whitworth will honor a request to withhold information, but the university cannot assume responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release it. Regardless of the effects upon the requesting student, the institution assumes no liability as a consequence of honoring instructions that directory information be withheld. Whitworth University assumes that failure on the part of any student to request specifically the withholding of categories of directory information indicates approval of that information for disclosure.
The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the
student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without
FERPA permits disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support-staff position (including law-enforcement-unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted for a service or operations function (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
The university may disclose personally identifiable information from a student's education record to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
Furthermore, the university is required by law (the Solomon Amendment) to provide the name and address of all students to any legitimate military recruiter who makes such a request in writing to the registrar's office. This applies even if a student has submitted a request to withhold directory information.
FERPA regulations detail other exceptions that allow disclosure without a student's consent.
Can parents access their students' education records?
Parents have no inherent right to inspect their students' education records at Whitworth University. For a parent to have access to his or her student’s non-directory information, s/he must have a signed waiver from the student, or the student must have completed a Permission to Release Educational Records form signifying the parent as someone who has been given permission to access non-directory information.
The university may disclose personally identifiable information from a student's education record without the student's consent if the disclosure is to parents of "dependent" children as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 152, and Whitworth has a copy of the parent tax return on file in the financial aid office.
What is FERPA procedure in health or safety emergencies?
If non-directory information is required during an emergency, Whitworth may release that information if it deems that the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
Whom should I contact for more information?
Please direct any questions not answered here to the registrar's office, located in McEachran Hall.