Student Services keeps current student records and officially archives all student academic records. Each student’s complete file is kept in electronic format for a minimum of five years. Thereafter, only official Southwest Tech grade transcripts are archived; all other documents may be purged.
Notification Rights Under FERPA. Southwest Tech complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). FERPA affords students certain rights concerning their educational records. These rights are as follows:
- Students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the date that Student Services receives a written request for access that identifies the record(s) sought. Student Services will arrange for access and notify a requesting student of the time and place for inspection. If the records are not maintained by the office to which the records request was submitted, that office shall direct the student to the correct office/department.
- Students who believe that they have inaccurate or misleading education records may ask the College to amend them. A written request should be directed to the office responsible for maintaining the record, clearly identify the questioned part of the record, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the
requesting student of the decision and of the student’s right to a hearing on the denied request. At that time, the College will also provide the student with additional information on hearing procedures.
- Students have the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure with consent is disclosure to school officials who have legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including law enforcement units and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Southwest Tech Board; or a person assisting
another school official in performing his or her tasks. School officials have legitimate educational interest if they need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failure of the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The relevant address is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Notice Regarding Directory Information. FERPA requires Southwest Tech, with certain exceptions, to obtain a student’s written consent prior to disclosing personally identifiable information in the student’s education records. However, under FERPA the College may disclose appropriately designated “directory
information” without written consent, unless a student has expressly forbidden the College to do so according to Southwest Tech procedures. The purpose of having certain information deemed directory information is to enable the College to publish directory information contained in a student’s education records under certain circumstance. Examples include honor rolls or other recognition lists, graduation programs, annual yearbooks, and student directories. Directory information, release of which is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, can also be disclosed to outside organizations at the discretion of the College without prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. Students 18 years or older or parents of minors must notify Southwest Tech in writing if they do not want directory information released without prior consent.
Southwest Tech has designated the following as directory information:
- Email Address
- Enrollment Status
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- List of previous educational study or institutions attended
Release of Other Records. Records are not released to parents of students who are 18 years or older, unless they are a tax dependent, without student consent. Nondirectory information is not released to anyone without student consent in writing. The following agencies may receive data without student permission, as provided by FERPA:
- Agencies providing financial assistance to a student, such as employers, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Veterans Administration.
- The Wisconsin Technical College System State Board.
- Faculty and staff of Southwest Wisconsin Technical College who have a legitimate educational need for the information and auditors with approved access.
- Courts or legal offices on the basis of a subpoena.
- Properly authorized educational authorities for the purpose of research, provided the information is not given in a format that identifies the subject.
- Agencies involved in collection of a debt owed to Southwest Tech.
- State and local officials to whom disclosure is required by state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
Admission of a disability is voluntary, and a student’s records will be handled in a confidential manner as outlined in the amended Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. Records that document a student’s disability are securely housed in the Support Services Center, Building 100, Room 108, of the Southwest Tech campus. Personal information pertaining to a student’s disability will only be shared on a need-to-know basis at Southwest Tech. A release of information is required to view documentation of a student’s disability and is filed with the student’s support service file in a controlled file cabinet. Only Southwest Tech’s support services specialist, or other designated personnel as specified on the release of information, can access such files.
Student Social Security Numbers
Although providing Social Security numbers is voluntary, Southwest Tech is required to furnish them to the Wisconsin Technical College System State Board for reporting purposes and to Wisconsin state and federal government officials for financial aid. The College does not use Social Security numbers for student identification (each student is assigned a unique identification number) but keeps them on file for the previously mentioned reasons only.