FERPA Help Releasing Student Information / Permission for Recommendations or Conversations
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA, Buckley Amendment) is designed to protect the confidentiality of student education records that educational institutions maintain and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents.
Student Release Online
Students can give permission to have their records released to specific individuals and for whatever amount of time they wish. At the Self-Service "Student Information Release (FERPA)" link found under Academics (see below), students may give consent for a faculty member to write a letter of recommendation, or allow an adviser or dean to talk with family members. This process does not provide for sending transcripts to family members or others. Students can request a printed transcript or an electronic transcript to be sent according to the policies and procedures at go.wlu.edu/transcripts.
Faculty can view the permissions granted by all students from the Self-Service "Student Information Release (FERPA)" link under Academics.
The transition from secondary school to higher education includes a change in the protection of your son or daughter's records on the day they matriculate. Washington and Lee is custodian of each student's education record and, at matriculation, the student (no matter their age or financial dependency) becomes the only party responsible for authorizing release of the record, with certain exceptions noted in the full policy. This includes authorizing release of information -- verbal or otherwise -- to parents or other family members. Students are encouraged to share their final grades (provided on a secure website) directly with family members each term. As an alternative, students may request that a print or electronic transcript of final grades be sent home, though this must be requested each term.
Under FERPA rights, the University may release Directory Information about a student to the general public, including other students. This may be important for such things as verifying enrollment, sending information to family members, sending announcements of honors to hometown newspapers, and for faculty to facilitate communications among students in a course.
Information that W&L may disclose at its discretion includes the following: name, current enrollment, local address, permanent address, local telephone number, campus e-mail address, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, class standing (e.g., sophomore), schedule of classes, previous institution(s) attended, major field(s) of study, awards and honors, degree(s) conferred (including dates), full-time or part-time status, photographic or videotaped image, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, including fraternities and sororities, and physical factors of athletes (e.g., height, weight).
W&L works hard to protect each student's privacy and does not automatically release such information to all requestors. Examples of information which are NOT directory information and which are thus not releasable without advance student permission or applicable exception under the Act include: specific course grades, grade-point averages, race or ethnic group, religion, or parent names.
If you wish to withhold release of Directory Information, complete the FERPA block form. Directory information will then be withheld until the student releases the hold on disclosure or until the last term of the student's enrollment, whichever comes first. Students should be aware that placing a block on their directory information may limit the ability of certain W&L individuals or offices to communicate appropriately for you and with you.