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FERPA Privacy Waiver - Get Started

FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a federal law protecting the confidentiality of student records. In compliance with FERPA, the University of Massachusetts Amherst must have students’ written permission in order to release information from their records to any third party, including their parents, spouse or employer.  Use this Waiver to provide "written" permission electronically to allow a few selected designees access to relevant portions of your student record.

Why Use the FERPA Privacy Waiver?

Your parents or others may need access to your financial or housing information to help resolve problems.
Use this Waiver if your parents, guardian, or spouse need to communicate with the University about financing your education or securing housing. This waiver allows you to designate a few individuals who can contact the University on your behalf.

You can edit or cancel your designees at any time.
Use SPIRE to add up to four designees, who may contact one of the participating offices (Financial Aid Services/Office of the Bursar or Housing Services) on your behalf. SPIRE gives you 24-hour access to editing or canceling your designees.

The Waiver does not apply to your academic record. Under this Waiver, University staff cannot discuss academic information (e.g., your grades) with your designees.

The Waiver does not apply to your directory information. Directory information is considered public information and may be disclosed without your consent (unless you choose to keep it private).

 

How the Waiver Works

Prior to completing the FERPA Privacy Waiver, be sure to read the Waiver Provisions and make sure you understand the types of information you are disclosing. You are able to add/edit up to four designees in SPIRE. When designees are added in SPIRE, you will assign each designee a 4-character access code (like a PIN) to use when they contact the university on your behalf. The Access Code is a unique 4-character code that the designee will use as a PIN when he or she contacts the appropriate office via telephone, U.S. mail, email, or in person to discuss your student information. Be sure each of your designees knows his or her unique access code. Designees are only able to access information that you have specified in SPIRE, and do not have access to your Academic Record or Directory Information. Your waiver remains in effect two semesters after you leave the University unless you remove your designees. 

Keep in mind that Financial Aid Info pertains to your financial activity at the University and may include your account balance, tax information, loan, and financial aid information. Housing Info refers to your on-campus housing assignments and contractual obligations

 

Access the FERPA Privacy Waiver

  1. Navigation: Main Menu > My Personal Information > FERPA Privacy Waiver.
  2. Read through the entire Introduction and follow the directions in the last paragraph.
    • Be sure to read the FERPA Privacy Waiver Provisions to make sure that you understand the types of information that you will be sharing with designees.
    • Note: The Introduction will appear each time you access the Waiver until you click I Agree.

 

Add, Edit, or Remove Designee(s)

To Add or Edit Designee(s):

  1. Navigation: Main Menu > My Personal Information > FERPA Privacy Waiver
  2. If you haven't done so, you will need to read the Waiver Provisions and click I Agree on the FERPA Privacy Waiver Introduction Page
  3. On the Add/Edit Designee page, enter up to four designees. You will need to provide:
    1. The person's first and last name
    2. The type of information you would like for them to access: HousingFinancial Aid & Bursar information, or both.
    3. Assign each designee an Access Code. The Designee must provide their access code when contacting the University on your behalf. Make sure each designee knows their access code and the types of information to which you have granted access. 
    4. Click Save.

To Remove Designee(s):

Once your designees' access to your student information is no longer needed, you can remove their names from the Add/Edit Designees page in SPIRE. Removing any designee will cancel their ability to discuss your status with the designated offices on campus.

  1. Navigation: Main Menu > My Personal Information > FERPA Privacy Waiver
  2. Click the "Remove This Designee?" checkbox next to any designee you wish to remove. Alternatively, you can click the "Remove All Designees?" checkbox to remove all of your designees. 
  3. Click Save.