Guide to Release of Student Information

Hobart and William Smith Colleges use the highest standards of reasonableness both in providing students access to their records and in assuring the confidentiality of these records in terms of their release to third parties.

1. Directory Information. Hobart and William Smith Colleges has designated directory information, according to the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended, to be the student's:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Class/year level
  • Dates of attendance
  • Date of graduation
  • Degree and major, awards or honors received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
  • Date and place of birth
  • Activities list
  • Height and weight of athletes
  • Photograph
  • Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc. (A student's SSN, in whole or in part, cannot be used for this purpose.)

The above information may be released by the Colleges at any time to any persons or agencies deemed to have a legitimate interest. Students have the right to limit disclosure of directory information. Such requests must be filed annually (by the third week of fall semester classes) or through the student self-service system via the HWS PeopleSoft Website. (See "Campus Personal Information" and click on "FERPA Restrictions")

2. *Restricted Information (See availability of restricted information)

  • Student Social Security Number
  • Courses elected
  • Schedule of classes
  • Grades, academic evaluations, GPA, number of courses completed
  • Academic transcripts
  • Student's gender
  • Financial Aid Information (Separate consent form is sent to students and is valid throughout his/her enrollment at the Colleges and thereafter but may be modified or rescinded in writing by the student.)
  • Information not specified as "Directory Information"

*AVAILABILITY OF RESTRICTED INFORMATION. Educational records are considered confidential and may be viewed by the student. They cannot be released to a third party without written consent from the student indicating which records are to be released, to whom and for what purpose. This includes copies of grade reports and various other documents. There are, however, exceptions to this release policy. The colleges may disclose educational records without written consent of students to the following:

  • personnel within the colleges determined to have a legitimate educational interest in the records, and who gave assurance that the records will be used in an ethical and professional manner,
  • officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, on condition that the issuing institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure,
  • in connection with a student's application for or receipt of financial aid,
  • organizations conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction,
  • accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions,
  • parents of a student who have established that student's status as a dependent (parents must show proof of dependency by submitting a copy of their income tax statement). Parents of a student who is not a dependent in accordance with IRS definitions have no access rights to the college educational records without student's written consent,
  • in compliance with judicial orders or lawful subpoenas. The student must be notified of such lawful order or subpoena before the records are released (unless otherwise specified according to the provisions outlined in the USA Patriot Act),
  • persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the Colleges receives a request for access.
  2. Students should submit to the registrar or dean written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student o