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Friday, January 30, 2015

FERPA: Can students request a copy of their admissions files under FERPA?

Yes, admitted students have this ability under FERPA. An admissions file directly relates to a student and is maintained by the University so it is an “education record” under FERPA. However, there are limitations:

  • Education institutions are not required to let a student see confidential letters of recommendation written for admissions’ applications if the student waived the right to see this material.
  • FERPA only applies once a student is admitted and enrolled -- an applicant that was not admitted or that did not enroll cannot request their file under FERPA. (That right may exist under other legal rights however.)

Students have recently used this right under FERPA at Stanford University.

Student Systems Upgrade Overview Course now available

The Student Systems Upgrade Overview Course is required for all staff with access to student data in PeopleSoft. This is an online course which you may complete at your own pace prior to the upgrade. If you complete this class in ULearn prior to the cutover period for the Upgrade, your training session will be recorded in ULearn.
Last month, it was announced that the PeopleSoft upgrade scheduled to launch this spring would be shifted to later in the semester than initially planned. We now know that the cutover period--when current systems are unavailable or are view-only--is planned to begin April 10 with a targeted go-live date of April 20. More information is available at upgrade.umn.edu.

Mid-term alerts policy changing with the times

The University's policy on providing mid-term alerts is undergoing comprehensive review, as all University policies do. If the policy is approved by the President's Policy Committee this spring, it will now be titled: "Providing in-progress notifications on academic performance," to encourage faculty that they can use the mechanism to notify students if they are doing well academically, not only if they are in danger of earning a D, F or N.

The reference to mid-term has also been a bit of a misnomer, so the new title reflects that the notification may occur at a time other than the middle of the term. In addition to these changes, the policy will no longer reflect the weeks within the semester when the notification should occur, but rather at a time in the semester when a student could reasonably make an informed choice about changing study habits to turn around poor performance or make the choice to drop a class before the withdrawal deadline.

Processing GDP’s

Over the past several weeks, Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) has received an increased volume of Graduate Degree Plans (GDP). As a business practice, the standard processing time is 2-3 weeks; however, with the present volume, current processing time is closer to 3 weeks. As always, your patience is appreciated as the documents are processed.

If it is important that a GDP be expedited, please either email the GDP to gssp@umn.edu with an explanation or include a note with the GDP and submit it to our office in 160 Williamson Hall (campus code: 0174A). This will allow us to prioritize work accordingly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email gssp@umn.edu.

Graduate Degree Plan and Committee Milestones

At the last several RAC meetings we have discussed updates to graduate education milestones related to the Graduate Degree Plan (GDP) and examining committees. You will now see on students' records that the GDP milestone (0804) is being used solely for the GDP and will either have a designation of "not complete" if the GDP has not been submitted and/or processed or "complete" indicating that the GDP has been approved by the program and college and processed by GSSP.

The following committee milestones are now also appearing on students' records in either a "not complete" or "complete" status: 0827 for doctoral prelim oral committees, 0828 for masters and doctoral final exam committees, and 0829 for those programs who do not require committees (i.e., post-bacc certificates and master's Plan C). Updates to these milestones were made for active students only. Any questions regarding this update can be directed to Amber Cellotti at knap0071@umn.edu.