Rights & Responsibilities

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a federal law which sets forth requirements aimed at protecting the privacy of educational records. Education records are defined as those records which directly relate to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting on behalf of that institution. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements.

Students have the following inherent rights under FERPA –

  1. Control the disclosure of their “education records” to others
  2. Inspect and review their “education records”
  3. Seek amendment to their “education records”
  4. File a complaint with the Department of Education

Once students are enrolled at MWSU, FERPA rights transfer to the student, regardless of the student’s age.

In the absence of an official request, information contained in a student’s records remains confidential between the student and MWSU and will not be released to third parties without the consent of the student, with the following exceptions:

  • as directory information;
  • to school officials with legitimate education interest;
  • to schools which the student is seeking admission;
  • to organizations conducting studies of or on behalf of educational institutions;
  • to federal, state or local education authorities;
  • in connection with the receipt of financial aid;
  • to accrediting agencies;
  • to comply with a judicial order or subpoena;
  • in health or safety emergencies;
  • results of a disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence;
  • to parents of students under the legal drinking age if caught possessing or using alcohol or drugs.

Missouri Western State University defines directory information as:

  • name;
  • mailing address;
  • telephone;
  • campus e-mail address;
  • date of birth (month/day);
  • major or field of study;
  • dates of attendance;
  • enrollment status;
  • anticipated graduation date;
  • classification;
  • degrees awarded;
  • honors awarded;
  • previous institutions attended;
  • participation in activities/sports;
  • weight/height of athletes.

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Registrar's Office (Eder Hall 102). A hold will not apply retroactively and will remain valid until the student submits notification in writing, stating otherwise. Missouri Western assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.

Request for records inspection should be directed to the official in charge of maintaining the record. The personally identifiable educational records of each student and former student maintained by the university are open for inspection by the student, except in limited cases where privacy, confidentiality, or professional privileges of another person is involved.

The student may challenge an inaccurate record and request a hearing concerning any alleged inaccuracy contained therein. Any challenge must establish by a preponderance that the record is inaccurate. If desired, the student may submit a written explanation of a record's content, which then becomes a part of the record. Additional information regarding FERPA may be obtained from the Registrar's Office, Eder 102 or the University’s Risk Manager, Popplewell 119.

University E-mail/Portal Use Policy

Missouri Western State University has designated the MWSU e-mail system and the Missouri Western GoldLink electronic portal (goldlink.missouriwestern.edu) as official methods of communication to students, faculty, and staff. Each student, faculty, and staff member receives a MWSU hosted e-mail account and network login/password. This e-mail account is the primary resource used for MWSU communications between students, faculty, and staff. Official notices and information regarding the University will be sent through the MWSU e-mail system and/or posted on the Missouri Western Goldlink electronic portal.

The University has determined that use of the MWSU e-mail system and the GoldLink portal is critical to the success of students and employees in daily routines or job performance. Students are expected to check their e-mail accounts and access GoldLink at least once per week. Faculty and staff are expected to check their e-mail accounts and access GoldLink every 1–2 business days during active work periods.

Typical e-mail communications sent by MWSU include information regarding enrollment, grades, billing, payments, financial aid, and campus activities. Typical information provided by the Missouri Western GoldLink portal includes personal announcements, campus announcements, messages for targeted audiences, and access to the Banner Self-Service system. It is the responsibility of students, faculty, and staff to stay informed. Therefore, it is expected that students, faculty, and staff access this electronic communication mediums to stay informed of the activities of MWSU and to communicate in a timely manner.

Access to Personal Information

Students may access university and personal information by logging into their GoldLink account at goldlink.missouriwestern.edu. A unique username and password will provide secure entry to view grades, schedule of classes, unofficial transcript, financial statements, address, and other personal and confidential information. Students who lose their password may visit the Goldlink login page for instructions to reset their password. The username and answers to unique and personal security questions will be required in order to receive a new password.

Academic Advisement

Academic advisement of students is an integral part of academics at Missouri Western. All degree-seeking students are assigned an advisor who helps provide information regarding degree requirements, semester class selection, and career direction. Most graduate programs require academic advising each semester.

Advisors will recommend completing developmental courses during the first semesters enrolled at Missouri Western. This will allow students to move into their general studies courses and help complete acceptance requirements needed for many MWSU degree programs.  Degree-seeking graduate students who are required to take prerequisite coursework (undergraduate courses or graduate courses not listed on a program of study) must follow the university admissions criteria to be enrolled in such coursework their first semester at Missouri Western.  Further, the student will be expected to complete those same courses continuously during subsequent semesters.

As part of the procedure for the academic advisement/preregistration system at Missouri Western, students will meet with their respective advisors each semester to work out their schedules for the next semester of study. However, students are encouraged to meet with their advisor on a regular basis to develop the type of meaningful advisor-student relationship that we at Missouri Western prize as one of the hallmarks of our institution.

All degree-seeking students should declare a program of study for graduates degrees or certificates during the first semester of course work. Owing to the nature of the graduate certificates and two-year masters degrees, students in these programs are advised to consult with the graduate program directors of the appropriate program as early as possible.

Declaring a Program of Study

A student officially declares a program of study by completing a Program of Study Form with an advisor in the academic department where the program is housed. The completed document(s), with appropriate signatures, must be received in the Registrar's Office in order for the process to be complete.  The program of study form should be filed during the first semester of course work.

The university catalog in effect at the time of completion of the appropriate Program of Study form will be used to determine course requirements. The degree program remains effective for no more than six years following its approval date.  Students are responsible for the requirements of their educational programs and should work closely with their advisor to see that those requirements are met.

In the process of earning a degree, students must complete requirements for that degree and any necessary state certification requirements. If certification or statutory requirements change and additional requirements become effective during the time a student is enrolled in a program, the new requirements take precedence over previously existing degree or certification standards.

Current Program of Study Forms can be found through the website of the appropriate academic department or www.missouriwestern.edu/registrar.

Credit/Contact Hours

Missouri Western State University records course credits in semester hours. Credit hours are assigned as follows:

  • Traditional face-to-face courses: one student credit hour for each hour a course meets per week for the 15-week semester;
  • Laboratory, studio, clinicals, and practicum or internship courses: one student credit hour for each two or three hours a course meets per week for the 15-week semester, dependent on the type of course.
  • Online courses: credit hours will be assigned in the same manner as face-to-face courses.
  • Off schedule and short term courses: credit hours are assigned in the same manner as 15-week courses except on a pro-rated basis.

Class Attendance

Missouri Western State University has the expectation that students should be active participants in their coursework. Regular class attendance is considered a key element of participation and an essential part of the educational experience. Specific attendance requirements for individual courses will be communicated through the course syllabus.