Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- 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; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
Enrollment and Degree Verification
Southwest Tech has authorized the National Student Clearinghouse to provide enrollment and degree verifications. The National Student Clearinghouse can be contacted at:
National Student Clearninghouse Verification Services can be used to verify your enrollment at Southwest Tech. This verification has many uses such as:
- Verification for health insurance
- Reduction of auto insurance premiums
- Financial Aid deferment
Disclosure 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 (ADA) Amendment Act of 2008 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, Knox Learning Center, Building 300, Room 314, of the Southwest Tech campus. Personal information pertaining to a student’s disability will only be shared with a signed, written release at Southwest Tech.
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, to the Internal Revenue Service for tax 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.
Southwest Tech may release the following information, considered to be directory information, to the public without the student's prior consent:
- Student Name
- SWTC Email address
- Program of Study
- Enrollment Status (full- or part-time)
- Dates of Attendance
- Degrees and Awards Received
- Dates of Degrees
- Participation in officially recognized activities
Any other personally identifiable information, including, but not limited to, grades, class locations, admissions status, financial aid status, tuition cost and balance due cannot be disclosed without the student’s written consent. Learn more from the U.S. Department of Education (https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html).
A fee may be imposed for the location, reproduction and/or delivery of records. The fee will reflect the necessary and direct cost of location, reproduction or delivery of said record(s). There will be a special fee assigned to rush requests. Once a year, Southwest Tech College sends all students an annual notification of their rights.
Release of Student Lists
Student lists and directories, including lists with addresses and telephone numbers are not published. Lists of students’ names and addresses are released to outside agencies under the provisions of the Wisconsin Public Records Law. Military branches of service may receive student list information of currently enrolled students as per Solomon Amendment. A Solomon Amendment request must be in writing stating that the information requested is for "recruitment purposes only.”
Anyone can request what is defined as "directory information". Students have the right to withhold any directory information that they wish by filling out a privacy request form. Directory Information Public Record released to any inquiry (for non-commercial use).