Notification of Rights: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records, including
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the University Registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for an amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, including disclosure without the student’s consent is permissible to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Regents; 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.
- The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Western Kentucky University 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 20202-8520
Release of student record information is generally not done at WKU without the expressed, written consent of the student; however, FERPA allows several exceptions described below:
- FERPA allows the institution to routinely release information defined as “directory information.” The following student information is included in the definition: the student’s name, address, e-mail address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, enrollment status (including full-time, part-time, not enrolled, withdrawn and date of withdrawal), degree and awards received, and the most recent previous education agency or institution attended by the student. When a student wants any part of the directory information to remain confidential, an official request form must be completed in the Office of the Registrar within the first five days of class of each school term.
- Upon request, WKU may disclose education records without the student’s consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled as long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
- Effective January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expanded the circumstances under which the student’s education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records—including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information—may be accessed without the student’s consent.
- First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to the student’s records and PII without the student’s consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
- Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to the student’s education records and PII without the student’s consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the university objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive the student’s PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.
- In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without the student’s consent PII from the student’s education records, and they may track the student’s participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about the student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
Questions pertaining to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be directed to Jennifer Hammonds, University Registrar, Potter Hall Room 238, (270) 745-3351.
Student Right-to-Know Act Annual Disclosure Statement
In compliance with the federal Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, the University’s graduation rate is to be made available, upon request, to potential and currently enrolled students. The Act requires public disclosure beginning July 1, 1993, of this information by institutions of higher education receiving federal financial assistance.
Western Kentucky University’s graduation rate was calculated using definitions established by the U. S. Department of Education. This rate is based upon the number of beginning freshmen who entered Western Kentucky University as full-time degree-seeking students during the 2014 fall semester and who completed an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree within six years (through August, 2020). For this cohort of beginning students, the graduation rate is 52.72%.
Kentucky Center for Education & Workforce Statistics: Post-Secondary Feedback Report
The Postsecondary Feedback Reports take a deep look into what happens to Kentucky graduates after they leave college. Each report provides in-depth data by institution about which degrees are pursued, the employment of graduates as well as information about students who go on to pursue advanced degrees, average wages for various degree categories, and some insights into what happens to students who leave without a credential and do not continue their education elsewhere. Reports are created for each of the commonwealth’s public 4-year, public 2-year, and independent institutions.
For more information and to view the report please go to: https://kcews.ky.gov/Latest/PSFR
Statement of Compliance
Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs and employment. The University is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniform service, veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions, or physical or mental disability. On request, WKU will provide reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services, necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in all services, programs, activities, and employment.
The University has published policies and procedures for investigating and/or addressing discrimination or harassment in its educational programs and/or employment. If you believe you have experienced discrimination or harassment in such programs, activities, or employment, policies and procedures are included on the following website: http://www.wku.edu/policies/ (WKU Policies), in addition to the WKU Student Handbook, and Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. These publications, including information about University procedures, are available on the University’s website (www.wku.edu), at:
WKU Policies: http://www.wku.edu/policies/
WKU Student Handbook: http://www.wku.edu/handbook/
WKU Undergraduate Catalog: https://catalog.wku.edu/undergraduate
WKU Graduate Catalog: http://catalog.wku.edu/graduate
The following person has been designated to serve as the University’s Title IX Coordinator:
Ms. Deborah Wilkins
Title IX Coordinator / Senior Advisor
Wetherby Administrative Center, Suite 101
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11001
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1001
Information regarding WKU’s Title IX compliance, policies, and procedures may be found on the following website: http://wku.edu/titleix/.
In addition, information or assistance may be requested from the following:
Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services
Wetherby Administration Building, Suite G33
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11009
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1009
Department of Human Resources
Wetherby Administration Building, Suite G25
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11003
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1003
Academic Affairs & Provost’s Office
Wetherby Administration Building, Suite 239
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11008
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1008
Phone: (270) 745-2297
Inquiries about alleged discrimination may also be made directly to:
The Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building, Suite 515
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA 19107
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
332 W. Broadway, Suite 1400
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
(TDD) (502) 595-4084
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
600 Martin Luther King, Jr. Place, Suite 268
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
TTY (800) 669-6820