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FERPA

Verifying a Student Request

One of the main purposes of FERPA is to allow students access to their records, so it is reasonable to expect employees will communicate with students about their records. The question is just a matter of when it is appropriate, and the proper medium by which to communicate.

The first step is to know who you are talking to. Before communicating information that would be classified as a student's education record, the employee should take reasonable steps to verify the student's identity. This can be as simple as recognizing the student's face, asking a question from a recent class, or verifying a couple of fields from the student's SIS profile. The main point is to feel comfortable that you know the identity of the person you are communicating with before sharing information.

The method of communication is determined by the employee, not the student. For example, all information to be shared by email should only go to the student's official UWGB email account. A student may ask to talk in a busy hallway, but should be directed to a quieter more private setting. Given the nature of the information, the employee may prefer to put it in writing, rather than share the record verbally. This is a reasonable restriction on the record by the employee.

In the end a student can formally request a copy of their record, and must be granted access to a copy of that record in a timely fashion.

What you verify to a student varies by the type of request.

If the request is something you normally discuss with students as a part of taking your course or accessing the services you provide you can release the information, have the discussion, etc.
If the request is not something you would typically be discussing or not something you confirm officially, such as enrollment status or degree completion you have the ability to refer to another entity of the institution that would be able to verify the information requested.

If you are unsure about a request made and want to discuss please contact Registrar's office at (920) 465-2657 or Dean of Students office at (920) 465-2152.