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;
  • phone numbers;
  • 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 these electronic communication mediums to stay informed of the activities of MWSU and to communicate in a timely manner.

Preferred Name Policy

The Preferred Name Policy at Missouri Western State University allows students to change their first names in most university information systems without pursuing a legal name change. The University hopes to give students an empowering, safe and nondiscriminatory university experience. Reasons for name changes may include transgender or gender nonconforming identities, international students or other students who wish to adopt an English language name, students known by names that are different from their legal names, etc. The complete policy and procedures on how to make a name change can be found at www.missouriwestern.edu/registrar/namechange.

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. Semester advisement is mandatory for students who have attempted fewer than 24 credit hours and for students whose GPA is less than 2.0. Most departments require academic advising each semester for all majors.

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 students who are required to take developmental coursework (mathematics-MAT 081 Foundations for University Mathematics IMAT 083 Foundations for University Mathematics II; English-ENG 100 Introduction to College Writing; or reading-RDG 095 Reading Skills Improvement) 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.  Once enrolled in these courses, a signature from the Student Success & Academic Advising Center, Eder Hall 209, is required to drop. Upon completion of developmental work, students should progress, in the following semester, to the general education English and math requirements, allowing them to complete the general education English and math requirements prior to attempting 60 credit hours.

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 major or pre-major before 60 hours of course work has been attempted. Owing to the nature of the one-year certificate and two-year associate degrees, students in these programs are advised to consult with the chairpersons of the appropriate departments as early as possible.

Declaring a Major or Minor

A student officially declares a major by completing a Major Declaration Form with an advisor in the academic department where the major is housed. A Minor Declaration Form may be completed with the student's major department or the department housing the minor. The completed document(s), with appropriate signatures, must be received in the Registrar's Office in order for the process to be complete.  The declaration of major should be made once 24 credit hours of course work has been attempted. If the student is unable to declare a major, a pre-major should be declared.

The university catalog in effect at the time of completion of the appropriate Major or Minor Declaration form will be used to determine course requirements. The major 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 Major and Minor Declaration Forms can be found through the website of the appropriate academic department or www.missouriwestern.edu/registrar

Course Load

The maximum number of credits a student may take is 18 credits per semester or 9 credits in a summer term.  Upon approval of the College/School Dean, a student who has a 3.0 overall GPA or a 3.0 GPA for the previous semester or term may take additional credit for the following semester or term.

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.