As our society continues to use the internet and other means to extend the sharing of information worldwide, it is important to have safeguards in place to ensure that the privacy of personal information is protected. The Federal government has enacted a number of laws intended to safeguard the privacy of personal information, including the Family Educational and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Under the provisions of FERPA, students have the right to inspect their educational records and submit requests to correct errors and inaccuracies. The FERPA provisions relating to the privacy of these educational records have some implications that students and their families need to be aware of.
Under the provisions of FERPA, "directory" information is considered to be public information; and the University has the right to release this information upon request to any interested party. Directory information includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the student's name, address, phone number(s), e-mail address(es), program of study and enrollment status. Directory information does not include the Social Security Number. Students who wish to restrict the availability of directory information may do so by contacting the University Registrar's Office. Please note that restrictions on directory information do not apply to agents with whom the University has contracted to perform services on its behalf. For example, the University has the right to provide directory information to a collection agency it has employed to collect delinquent student account balances.
Other than directory information, FERPA restricts the release of educational records, including all financial records, to anyone other than the student without the student's explicit written permission. While designed to protect the student, the restrictions can also prove to be inconvenient. For example, if a parent telephones the Business Office to pay the balance on the student account, the Cashiers are not permitted to tell the parent how much the student owes. A parent preparing a tax return is not able to obtain a copy of the student's 1098-T. Business Office personnel are not permitted to discuss the details of the student's account with anyone other than the student. The restrictions not only apply to the parents, they apply to the spouse as well. It can be frustrating at times for all parties concerned, but FERPA restrictions are inflexible and must be observed.
If the student would like to have a parent, spouse, or any other adult be able to have access to his/her financial information, s/he may set that person up as an Authorized User in IBOD. Washburn University accepts Authorized User status as FERPA permission to discuss the student's account with the Authorized User. In the unlikely event that the person the student wishes to designate as an Authorized User does not have a valid e-mail address, the student may print and complete a consent form , and return it to the Business Office to grant FERPA permission. When contacting the Business Office, a person granted FERPA permission using a paper release will need to inform the person they are speaking to that there is a paper release, and permit the Business Office representative to verify the release before proceeding with any inquiries. A legally executed Power of Attorney granted the holder the right to discuss financial information is also acceptable as FERPA permission, once the Business Office representative has verified that the University is in possession of a copy of the document.