Catalog 2016-2017


FERPA

University student records are confidential for all schools receiving funding under programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act  (FERPA).  Generally, information pertaining to a student record is not to be released to a third party without written consent via a FERPA Release form, judicial order, or a lawfully issued subpoena. 

Access to Education Records

FERPA regulations require the University to comply with the students' right to inspect and review their academic records by responding within 45 days from the time the University receives a written request to access their records.

However, the University Registrar Office will respond to student's requests to review their records within 14 days from receipt of the request.  Students should submit their request to the University Registrar Office and specify the record(s) they wish to inspect or have a copy.

Note: Under FERPA, a student is defined as an individual who is attending or has attended an educational institution.  Students with at least one positive attendance posted are considered a student.

Education records are defined as all records, files, documents and materials containing information directly related to a student; and maintained by an educational institution.

The following are not education records: 

  • Personal records maintained by an individual; must be kept in the sole possession of the individual and are not accessible to others.
  • Records of the law enforcement unit of an educational institution
  • Personnel records; records related to a person as an employee not used for any other purpose.
  • Medical records
  • Records created after the student is no longer a student; alumni records. 

Releasable Information – Directory

In compliance with FERPA, a University designated representative without prior written or authorized electronic consent of the student, a judicial order, or a lawfully issued subpoena can release the following education record information, provided the student does not have a FERPA hold on record. 

  • Student name
  • Home address
  • Email address
  • Home telephone number
  • Year of birth
  • Dates of admission
  • Dates of attendance
  • Program of study
  • Degree completion date and type
  • Student current enrollment status
  • Most recent previous institution attended and degree
  • Grade level
  • Photographs
  • Honors and awards received
  • Participation in officially recognized activities 

Exception: If a student submits written request via aFERPA Disclosure Prevention Request form that directory information not be released to a third party, NO INFORMATION CAN BE RELEASED, absent a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena. A FERPA Disclosure Prevention Request is valid unless rescinded. 

To remove a FERPA Disclosure Prevention Request, the student must complete and submit a FERPA Disclosure Prevention Rescind form to the University Registrar Office. To remove previously authorized parties from his record, the student should submit the FERPA Release Rescind form to the University Registrar Office.

Information Not Released – Non-Directory

In compliance with FERPA, the following student information must not be released by the University without prior written or authorized electronic consent of the student, a judicial order, or a lawfully issued subpoena.  The student’s signature on the written request is verified before processing the request.

  • Place of birth*
  • Month and day of birth*
  • Social Security Number or Student ID Number**
  • Grades
  • GPA
  • Course schedules
  • Employment information
  • Academic performance
  • Admission information
  • Academic Information
  • Financial and accounting information
  • Gender*
  • Race*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Citizenship*
  • Country of origin*

*Although this information may be disclosed without prior written consent according to FERPA, the University policy is to maintain the confidentiality of this student information.  The University will notify students to provide contact information directly to a third party when this information is requested.

**Student IDs, SSNs, or PINs should not be released to a third party, unless it is necessary to perform a required task (e.g. Student Financial Agreement, FBI Request, etc.).  These non-directory identifiers should not be released or verified, even with a signed FERPA release form, in order to avoid the risk of personal identity theft.

Note: Non-directory information can only be released to third parties via telephone or in-person if the student has provided written or authorized electronic consent including a security word.  If the student does not complete the release information, including security word, information is not released via telephone or in-person.  In-person requests also require a photo ID to validate identity.

Western International University students who are minors and/or dependents are protected by FERPA. All third party inquiries, including parents, require a FERPA Release Form on file unless the third party meets one of the definitions under FERPA allowing access without prior written or authorized electronic consent from the student (e.g., power of attorney, etc.).

Exception: The University can release information to school officials with legitimate educational interest.  The University can release information under the following conditions:

  • School officials[1] with legitimate educational interest
  • Person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials. 
  • Other schools a student seeks or intends to enroll
  • Specified officials for audit and evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school
  • Accrediting organizations
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, pursuant to state law
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formally Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)), in compliance with the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program.
  • Under Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT ACT) of 2001, Section 507 amends FERPA and allows institutions to disclose—without consent or knowledge of the student—PII (Personally Identifiable Information) from the student’s education records to the Attorney General of the United States or to his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes specified in 2332b(g)(5)(B) or an act of domestic or international terrorism as defined in section 2331 of title 18 United States Code.  Institutions that, in good faith, produce information from education records in compliance with an ex parte order issued under this amendment “shall not be liable to any person for that production.”
  • Under the Campus Sex Crime Prevention Act, institutions may disclose information concerning registered sex offenders who are required to register under the Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act.
  • The institution may disclose the results of a disciplinary proceeding if the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and found to violate the institution’s policies and procedures with respect to the allegation.  Disclosures can only be made if the institution determines the student violated policies and such disclosures must only include student name, violation committed, and sanction imposed against the student.
  • The institution must disclose, upon written request, to the alleged victim of a crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense, the results of any disciplinary hearing conducted by the institution against the student who is the alleged perpetrator of the crime or offense.  If the alleged victim is deceased because of the crime or offense, the institution must provide the results of the disciplinary hearing to the victim’s next of kin, if so requested.
  • The disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions.
  • If a student initiates legal action against an educational institution, the institution may disclose to the court, without a court order or subpoena, the student’s education records that are relevant for the institution to defend itself.
  • The disclosure is to parents of a dependent student as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. 

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if:

  • Performing a task specified in his/her job description/contract
  • Performing a task related to a student's education
  • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family
  • Representing a school in which a student seeks to enroll
  • Disclosing information to federal and state authorities auditing compliance of federal or state-support programs
  • Disclosing information in connection with financial aid, if the information is necessary for such purposes as to determine eligibility for aid, amount of aid, conditions for aid, or enforce terms and conditions of the aid.
  • Disclosing information to state and local officials to whom this information is specifically allowed to be disclosed pursuant to state laws if the allowed disclosure concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve the student whose records are released
  • Performing studies on behalf of educational institutions
  • Disclosing information to accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions
  • Complying with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; provided notification to the student is made before complying with the subpoena

[1] A school official is defined as:

  1. A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position.
  2. A person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a task.
  3. A person serving on an institutional governing body or committee.

The University can disclose personally identifiable information (PII), directory, and non-directory, without student consent if the disclosure meets one of the following conditions: 

  • This disclosure is to other school officials whom we determine have legitimate educational interest.
  • The disclosure is to officials of other schools where the student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • The disclosure is, subject to requirements of 34 CFR §99.35, to authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, Secretary, or state and local educational authorities.
  • The disclosure is in connection with financial aid [2] the student has applied for or received, if the information is necessary for such purposes as to determine the following:
    • eligibility for aid,
    • amount of aid,
    • conditions for aid, or
    • enforce terms and conditions of the aid.

Students requesting demographic or PII on other Western International University students for survey/research purposes must be approved.

The University shall retain a record of student information disclosed to a third party if recordation is required pursuant to FERPA. This information is made on University computer system containing dates, names, and reasons for release. Students shall have reasonable access to their educational records and may request to review and challenge the contents, which they feel to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights.

[2] Financial aid means a payment of funds (or a payment in kind of tangible or intangible property to the individual) that is conditioned on the individual’s attendance at an educational agency or institution [authority:  20 U.S.C.1232g (6)(1)(0)] 

Student Right to Access

Student wishing to review their educational records shall submit a written request to the University Registrar Office specifying the records to be reviewed.  Only records covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act will be made available.  If necessary, the University Registrar Office will work with a campus designee so that the student can review the record.

FERPA regulations require the University to comply with the students' right to inspect and review their academic records by responding within 45 days from the time the University receives a written request to access their records.  However, the University Registrar Office will respond to student's requests to review their records within 14 days from receipt of the request.  Students should submit their request to the University Registrar Office and specify the record(s) they wish to inspect or have a copy.

Students who wish to review their records at the campus location must present photo identification before access to educational records is allowed.  For copies of records from the student's file, students must fill out and submit the "Student Request for Information from Files" form. Distance education students must submit a written or authorized electronic request specifically outlining which record they would like to review. Upon verification, the records will be released.  

A designated University official must be present when students wish to review their records at the campus location.  This includes documents on file (e.g. WIN/eXp) or student history notes that do not reference other student information. 

Note: Students may not inspect and review the following, absent a judicial order or legally issued subpoena:

  • Confidential letters and recommendations for which they have waived their rights of inspection
  • Educational records containing information about more than one student (access is permitted only to that part of the record concerning the inquiring student).
  • Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational personnel, which are in possession of the originator
  • Records connected with an application to attend the University if the application was denied.  

Procedure

Students alleging their University records are inaccurate or misleading, or who allege violations of FERPA, may present their challenges to the University Registrar Office.

Students have the right to correct record keeping errors, but not to seek to overturn administration decisions and/or assessments.  The University Registrar Office shall review students' challenges and, when appropriate, amend students' records accordingly.  Students will be notified within 14 days of the University Registrar Office actions and based on the action may request a formal hearing. 

  • Student must submit request for amendment in writing to the University Registrar Office identifying the specific portion of his/her record s/he wants changed and why s/he believes it's inaccurate or in violation of his/her privacy. The University Registrar Office will respond to the request within 14 days.
  • If the University denies the request to change the record, the University Registrar Office will notify the student within 14 days of the decision and advise him/her of his/her right to challenge the information.
  • Students’ request for a formal hearing must be made in writing and submitted to the Vice President of University Operations. The University Registrar Office will arrange for a hearing, and notify the student within 14 days from the receipt of the request of the date, place, and time of the hearing. A hearing panel appointed by the University Registrar Office shall represent the University. The panel shall consider all relevant evidence supporting students' allegations of inaccurate or misleading information in students' records. Decisions of the panel will be final.
  • The University will provide a written decision within 14 days of the hearing based on evidence presented at the hearing and will include a summary of evidence presented and the rationale for the decision.
  • If the University decides that the challenged information is not misleading, inaccurate, or in violation of the student’s privacy rights, it will notify the student within 14 days of his/her right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information or a statement of reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
  • The statement will be maintained as a part of the student's record as long as the contested portion is maintained.  If the University discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.
  • If the University decides the information is inaccurate or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student within 14 days, in writing, that the record has been amended.

Western International University cannot deny students access to their records

Copies do not need to be provided, unless by not providing copies, the student’s rights are denied.

The University reserves the right to deny transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available by FERPA in any of the following situations, absent a judicial order or legally issued subpoena:

  • Student has an unpaid financial obligation with the University. Exception: The University will issue transcripts for students who have filed for bankruptcy provided that Western International University obtains a copy of the bankruptcy petition filed with the courts.  

Note: For a period of 25 years following the death of a student, education records of deceased students may only be released to the executor of the estate (written authorization required) or immediate family members (notarized affidavit required) defined as: spouse or legally recognized domestic partner, parents, children (over the age of 18), and siblings.  

An education record is released pursuant to judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, but usually only after the student is given reasonable notification of the University’s intent to comply before release of records unless the issuing agency has ordered that it not be disclosed. Inquiries regarding FERPA and requests for non-release may be addressed to: 

Western International University Registrar Office

1601 West Fountainhead Parkway

Tempe, AZ 85282

(602) 943-2311

Fax (602) 383-2210

Students have the right to file a complaint with the FERPA office in Washington, D.C., inquiries should be directed to:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-5920