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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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

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 2011 fall semester and who completed an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree within six years (through August, 2019). For this cohort of beginning students, the graduation rate is 48.87%.

Western Kentucky University is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs and employment. It is an equal opportunity - affirmative action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. On request, the University 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, the University policies and procedures are published in Hilltopics: A Handbook for University Life; the Western Kentucky University Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual; ADA Student Grievance Procedure; and the Catalog. These publications, including information about University procedures, are available in the following locations:

Office of Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action/ University ADA Services
Room 13, Wetherby Administration Bldg. 
1906 College Heights Blvd #11009 Western Kentucky University
(270) 745-5121

Office of Human Resources
Room 42, Wetherby Administration Bldg. 
1906 College Heights Blvd #11993 Western Kentucky University 
(270) 745-5360

Office of the President
Craig Administrative Center
1906 College Heights Blvd #11001 Western Kentucky University
(270) 745-4346

Student Accessibility Resource Center
Room 1074, Downing Student Union
1906 College Heights Blvd #11001 Western Kentucky University
(270) 745-5004

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, (215) 656-8548; the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, 832 Capital Plaza, 500 Metro Street, Frankfort, Kentucky, 60601, (502) 595-4024 or (800) 292-5566; or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 600 Martin Luther King, Jr. Place, Suite 269, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, (502) 582-5851.

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to a policy and practice of providing equal educational and employment opportunities to all individuals. In accordance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Revised 1992, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, no form of discrimination or harassment will be tolerated at WKU on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniformed services, veteran status, genetic information, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, or physical or mental disability in admission to career and technical education programs and/or activities, or employment practices.

The University is also required to investigate complaints of sex and gender-based discrimination. All sex and gender-based discrimination and harassment allegations can be reported to Ms. Deborah Wilkins (Title IX Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President), via email at deborah.wilkins@wku.edu or by phone at (270) 745-5396. Allegations regarding student-to-student misconduct can be reported to Mr. Michael Crowe (Office of Student Conduct Director and Title IX Investigator), via email at michael.crowe@wku.edu or by phone at (270) 745-5429. Allegations regarding employee-related misconduct can be reported to Mr. Joshua Hayes (Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services Director and Title IX Investigator), via email at joshua.hayes@wku.edu or by phone at (270) 745-5121. Additional information regarding Title IX is accessible via WKU’s https://www.wku.edu/titleix/ website.

Information concerning educational programs offered by WKU are provided at: http://www.wku.edu/atwku/academics.php



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 Last Modified 10/16/20