Telemarketers may have a more difficult time contacting students who take advantage of USFÃs new record policy.
The policy, which became effective early this September, allows students to request Ã¬confidentialityÃ® to prevent personal contact information such as names, addresses and telephone numbers from being disclosed to outside agencies or vendors.
Under this policy, USF can still disclose information that requires verification of enrollment, dates of attendance and degrees awarded.
University Registrar Angela DeBose said the policy was implemented because student privacy had become a major concern.
Ã¬All student educational records and information are considered confidential,Ã® DeBose said. Ã¬Directory information is never released unless the student says it is OK.Ã®
DeBose added that the university implemented the policy change in response to student requests.
DeBose said that several hundred students have already updated their records so that their information will not be disclosed. She said only two students have asked why they have had to make such a request.
Ã¬ThereÃs a balance to be struck,Ã® DeBose said. Ã¬We are trying to be responsive to student needs.Ã®
DeBose said Harold Nixon, vice president for student affairs, contributed to the policy change because he was concerned about the wellness of students. She said Nixon noted that credit card companies allow for customers to opt out. She said the university is now following suit to further student privacy.
Senior Angela Cibula said she received a letter from the registrar but didnÃt give it much thought.
Ã¬I have heard horror stories from my friends about identity theft, but IÃve never been in fear about it before,Ã® Cibula said. Ã¬I havenÃt gone online yet to make my information private. ShouldnÃt that information already be private?Ã®
Under the old policy, students would have to request non-disclosure of their directory information under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act instead of with the university.
FERPA is a federal law, which protects students from having their personal information distributed. The law also gives students the right to view and disclose their educational records, as well as obtain a copy of the schoolsÃ student records policy and to file a complaint with the FERPA office in Washington, D.C.
Doug Hartnagel, associate vice president for enrollment planning and management, said that previously the university complied with federal regulations by posting the policy in the student schedule and catalog.
Ã¬We felt that we needed to be more proactive and to send students the letter specifically,Ã® Hartnagel said. Ã¬Sometimes the students donÃt read the schedule or the catalog, and we felt we would do this once a year to give the students the opportunity to know about the policy.Ã®
Hartnagel said the policy is important because USF has a lot of Ã¬non-traditionalÃ® students enrolled, which makes the privacy issues different.
Senior Dan McLean said he received a letter from the registrar and approves of the change in policy.
Ã¬I think it is a good idea that students have the option to be excluded from the list,Ã® McLean said.
To request confidentiality to prevent your personal contact information from being disclosed, visit www.registrar.usf.edu/privacy.