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FERPA

What do employees need to know about grades and other academic information?

Grades: Grades can be communicated by various methods, on assignments directly handed to a student or via a grade-book feature in the D2L platform. Final grades are the only grade submitted to the Registrar's office to be recorded as the official outcome of course for every enrollment period (semester). It is then recorded on the official transcript.

If a student is requests an individual grade report for their course in progress from a faculty member it is up to the faculty member to develop a mechanism to notify the students of their progress in a course. Aside from returning assignments/exams, a faculty member could use the D2L platform. If a student is asking for confirmation of progress via their UWGB email account some effort should be made to gain the student's permission to ensure release of grades via UWGB email is acceptable to the student. Faculty members could notify all students they will release grade results to their UWGB email account and each student is to reply to the instructor indicating they grant permission for the grade information to be communicated using this medium.

Or suggest the student print at no cost; their unofficial transcript from the student information system (SIS) for grades each semester. Unofficial and Official academic transcripts are available to order anytime via their SIS account or from the Registrar's office. Go to Transcript Orders.

Other academic records: (GPA, enrollment status, total credits, major/minor, transfer credit information, etc.). Much of what makes up a student's record is protected under FERPA. Faculty members should refer enrollment/degree verifications to the Registrar's office for official processing or confirmation of this data.

With permission of the student, a faculty/staff member can confirm restricted information to a student after making a reasonable effort to verify personally identifiable information about the requestor. Only information the faculty/staff member has direct knowledge of should be communicated to the requestor.
For instance, the student inquires on the phone about performance on a quiz or exam in their course. Faculty should as a good practice, verify name, birthdate if known, Student ID number, courses they are currently enrolled, or any other item of information that pertains specifically to that student. Upon verification of identity of requestor, the faculty member can then confirm the information requested. It is a good practice to confirm identity before launching into a discussion about academic information.

All official correspondence should be to the student's UWGB email account. Confirmation of any request via the UWGB email account can be a valid method of communicating FERPA protected information pertaining to the course or individual academic record. Again, the confirmation provided should be something the faculty/staff member would be directly knowledgeable of in performing their individual work duties.

IF a faculty/staff member is asked to confirm cumulative statistics like overall GPA, courses attempted, credits earned, or other details beyond their individual courses, it is a good practice to refer these questions to the Registrar's office. If providing a professional job reference and the faculty/staff member has seen the student transcript and knows of the GPA, degree earned, etc. a disclaimer statement could be made.

"I worked with student John Smith. I was their instructor/advisor/staff representative during their time on campus. As part of my duties I am able to see individual data about this student. I can unofficially confirm I have noted they have maintained a 3.5 GPA for the past 3 semesters. If official verification is needed, the student needs to provide you with an official transcript."

Anytime a faculty/staff member is uncertain if a confirmation can be provided for the question asked or is not positive of the identity of the requestor, it is a good practice to decline the request and make contact with that student in person or by a trusted means of communication, such as a phone number provided earlier by the student or their UWGB email account. The employee can then refer the request to the records office or research and confirm it is a valid request and provide the information via the means that seems appropriate.

For further assistance with requests or questions you may have about FERPA, please contact the Dean of Students (920) 465-2152 or Registrar office (920) 465-2657 for assistance.