Office of the University Registrar

FERPA for Students

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA 34 CFR § 99 Federal Privacy Law

Education record – records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student, maintained by an educational institution.

Generally speaking, FERPA allows the University to disclose education records or personally identifiable information from education records in the following circumstances:

Note: References to parents in the FERPA law typically refer to students who have not yet enrolled in a higher education institution or turned 18. FERPA rights belong to the students at the UW.

Guaranteed Student Rights Under FERPA

  1. Inspect and Review: students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the date the University receives an access request (WAC 478-140). Students should submit a written request to the University official that maintains the record that identifies the record they wish to inspect.
  2. Request an Amendment: students have the right to request the amendment of student education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA (WAC 478-140-021). This process cannot be used to challenge grades.
  3. Provide Written Consent: students have the right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent (WAC 478-140-024).
  4. File a Complaint: students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA (WAC 478-140-070).

Student Directory Information Release

Directory information (WAC 478-140-024(5)) at the University of Washington is defined as:

  • student’s name
  • street address
  • email address
  • telephone number
  • date of birth
  • dates of attendance
  • degrees and awards received
  • major and minor field(s) of studies
  • class
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student
  • weight and height, if student is a member of an intercollegiate athletic team

FERPA allows the University to release a student’s directory information to anyone unless the student informs the Office of the University Registrar that they do not want directory information released.

Restrict Release of Directory Information

Students who do not wish to authorize the release of directory information and do not want their directory information to appear in the University Student Directory must inform the Office of the University Registrar by doing the following:

  1. Log into MyUW – requires a UW NetID.
  2. Go to Profile, then in Student Directory Information click on “Change your release settings”.
  3. In the Directory Release section, select the No option.

Students may choose to opt-out of directory information release at any time via the steps above.

Change Release Restriction from NO to YES

At any time after restricting directory information release, students may change their mind and authorize the University to release directory information and for it to appear in the University Student Directory. Students can grant such authorization via:

  • MyUW – follow the steps above.
  • Email to regoff@uw.edu – Provide full name, student ID number, a scanned copy of photo ID (passport or state issued ID), request, and signature.

Consequences of Restricting Directory Information

Students should understand that restricting the release of their directory information has other consequences. For instance, a FERPA restriction makes it difficult or impossible for potential employers to verify enrollment or degree(s) earned from the University. The University cannot notify hometown newspapers about awards and honors students have received (e.g., Dean’s list). For this reason alone, many students choose to remove their FERPA restriction.

Release of Records Request

Currently enrolled students can use the Release of Records Request to identify specific UW education record(s) to be released, the recipient(s) of the records, and the purpose of the release. Non-enrolled students can email ferpa@uw.edu to inquire about records release.

The Release of Records Request form is intended as a one-time records request for students to access their own records and release those records to a non-UW school official or UW student. It is not a blanket request to release all student records.

FERPA Training

This online module takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and provides recommendations to common FERPA-related issues that occur at the University. Though this training is intended for faculty and staff, students who are interested in learning more about FERPA are welcome to take it. The training includes a video and a scenario-based quiz.

*Note: users must log in with their personal NetID.
FERPA training course

Report a Violation

The UW Privacy Office provides a tool to report a FERPA violation or accidental release of student data. Please review the information and instructions on how to Report an Incident before submitting an incident report.

FERPA Resources

For more information on FERPA, please review the following resources: