FERPA Policy

What is FERPA? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) affords certain rights to students concerning their education records.  FERPA provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to limit disclosure of information from the records.  FERPA applies to all institutions that receive federal funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education.  

Who is protected under FERPA? Students who are currently enrolled in higher education institutions or were formerly enrolled are protected.  The records of students who are deceased are not protected under FERPA.  FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who were denied acceptance, or if accepted, did not attend.

What are my FERPA rights?

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s Kentucky Wesleyan College education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. A student should submit to the College Registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request an amendment of the student’s Kentucky Wesleyan College education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why they believe it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy rights.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide legal documentation (i.e. official birth certificate, court record or marriage certificate) for requests for name changes.  If the decision of the Registrar is in agreement with the request of the student, the appropriate record(s) will be amended and the student will be notified in writing of the amendment. If the Registrar decides not to amend the record as requested, the Registrar will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to appeal the decision following KWC’s published student privacy policy
  3. The FERPA amendment procedure may be used to challenge facts that are inaccurately recorded. It may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion, or a substantive decision made by KWC about an eligible student. FERPA was intended to require schools to conform to fair recordkeeping practices and not to override the accepted standards and procedures for making academic assessments, disciplinary rulings, or placement determinations. Thus, while FERPA affords eligible students the right to seek to amend education records which contain inaccurate information, this right cannot be used to challenge a grade or an individual’s opinion, or a substantive decision made by KWC about a student.
  4. The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The College discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College 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 College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using College employees or officials (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 responsibilities for the College.

Additional exceptions that permits KWC to non-consensually disclose person information includes disclosure is in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary for such purposes as to: determine the eligibility for the aid; determine the amount of the aid; determine the conditions for the aid; and/or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. With respect to this exception, the term “financial aid” means payment of funds provided to an individual that is conditioned on the individual’s attendance at a school.  Disclosure also may occur if a health or safety emergency occurs or if a student violates any Federal, State, or local law or any KWC rule or policy covering the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-5901

When do my FERPA rights begin?  FERPA rights begin when a student begins classes at KWC.

What are education records? Education records are any records maintained by the college that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational institution or party authorized to keep records for the institution.  Records may be in the form of any medium (handwritten, print, electronic, etc.).  FERPA coverage includes records, files, documents and data directly related to students.  This includes transcripts or other records from a school in which a student was previously enrolled. Education records include any records in the possession of an employee of the college that are shared with or accessible to another individual with the following exceptions:

  1. Personal records kept by KWC employees that are in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible by or revealed to any other person;
  2. Employment records, unless those records are contingent on the fact that they employee is a student;
  3. Records maintained by campus security solely for law-enforcement purposes
  4. Records maintained by KWC Health Services or related counseling services.

Types, locations, and custodians of educational records are as follows:

TYPE: LOCATION: CUSTODIAN:
Academic Advising files Varies Academic Advisor
Academic Integrity (misconduct) files Office of VPAA & Dean of the College VPAA & Dean of the College
Academic Records (including transcripts) Office of the Registrar Registrar
Student Financial Records Office of the Controller Controller
Miscellaneous Academic Records Office of the VPAA & Dean of the College VPAA & Dean of the College
Disciplinary Records Office of the VP of Student Services VP of Student Services
Financial Aid Files Office of Director of Financial Aid Director of Financial Aid
Student Health Records Office of the Campus Nurse Campus Nurse
Athletic Eligibility Records Office of NCAA Compliance Officer NCAA Compliance Officer
Athletic Medical/Insurance Records Office of the Athletic Trainer Athletic Trainers
Teacher Education Records Office of Teacher Education Education Program Director

What information can be released about KWC students? Directory information is information about a student that is not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  While FERPA protects the privacy of education records, directory information is not treated as confidential and may be disclosed by the college without student consent unless the student submits a completed and signed “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” form to the Office of the Registrar in Room 107 of the Bernard Jones Administrations Building.  At Kentucky Wesleyan College, the following has been designated as directory information:

  • Student name
  • Addresses (local, permanent and email)
  • Phone number(s)
  • Date of birth
  • Declared fields of study (major(s), minor(s), etc.)
  • Status (full-time, part-time, withdrawn, graduated, etc.)
  • Dates of attendance
  • Classification (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Degrees awarded, including any honors received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended
  • Photographic, video or electronic images of students taken and maintained by the college
  • Participation in officially recognized activities/sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Whether or not student is in good standing with the College
  • Name of student’s Academic Advisor

All other information is considered non-directory information and will not be released unless the student submits a completed, signed “FERPA Release of Information” form to the Office of the Registrar.

Can a student restrict the release of directory information? Students may withhold disclosure of directory information.  To withhold disclosure, the student must complete, sign and submit a “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” to the KWC Office of the Registrar, 3000 Frederica Street, Owensboro, KY  42301.  Directory information will then be withheld as long as the student is enrolled or until the student submits a request to revoke the withholding of Directory Information to the Registrar.  Regardless of the effects upon the requesting student, the institution assumes no liability as a consequence of honoring instructions that directory information be withheld.  Kentucky Wesleyan Colleges assumes that failure on the part of the student to specifically request the withholding of directory information indicates approval of that information for disclosure.

Who can have access to students’ education records? FERPA permits disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is defined as a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support-staff position (including law enforcement/security personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college 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. Furthermore, the college 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 Office of the Registrar.  This applies even if the student has submitted a request to withhold directory information.

Can parents access their students’ education records? For a parent to have access to his or her child’s non-directory information, the student must have submitted a completed and signed “FERPA Release of Information” form to the Office of the Registrar.  The parent must be listed on this document as someone to whom the institution has been authorized to disclose specific, non-directory information.

What is FERPA procedure in health or safety emergencies? If non-directory information is required during an emergency, KWC may release that information if it deems the information necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other individuals.

Whom should I contact for more information? Please direct any questions not answered here to the Registrar at 270-852-3119. FERPA is a Federal law.  Violation of the law may result in the loss of federal funds allocated to KWC.

Please note:  The information above has been developed by the Office of the Registrar to provide general information about the law and procedures related to accessing confidential student information and to provide guidance on commonly asked questions or situations faced by faculty, staff, students and parents.  It is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.