The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (commonly referred to as the "Buckley Amendment" or "FERPA") is designed to protect the confidentiality of the records that educational institutions maintain on their students and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents. The Act affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Generally speaking, these rights include the right to inspect and review their education records, the right to request amendment of their education records if the student believes they are inaccurate or misleading, the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in their education records, and, the right to contact the Family Policy Compliance Office with a complaint concerning the University's compliance.
Information that W&L may disclose at its discretion is called Directory Information and includes the following: name, current enrollment, local address, permanent address, local telephone number, campus e-mail address, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, class standing (e.g., sophomore), schedule of classes, previous institution(s) attended, major field(s) of study, awards and honors, degree(s) conferred (including dates), full-time or part-time status, photographic or videotaped image, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, including fraternities and sororities, and physical factors of athletes (e.g., height, weight).
Examples of information which are NOT directory information and which are thus not releasable without advance student permission include grades, grade-point averages, race or ethnic group, religion, and parent names.
Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of directory information using the FERPA block form. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received on an annual basis (usually as part of the annual check-in online). Directory information will then be withheld until the student releases the hold on disclosure or until the last term of the student's enrollment, whichever comes first.
Grades and all other student education records are protected by FERPA. In compliance with the law, this "non-directory" information requires the student's written consent prior to its release by a school official to any source outside the college (including parents). Students are encouraged to forward copies of their grade reports to family members each term or to print a copy of the WebAdvisor report of final grades. As an alternative, students may request that a transcript of final grades be sent home to their parents, but this must be requested each term.
Specific and detailed information on FERPA and student rights can be found here.