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Student Information Release

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION/VERBAL REFERENCE RELEASE

Requests by current and former students for letters of recommendation and verbal references are common for faculty, administrators and other staff at Transylvania University.  The recommendation can provide support for admission to an educational institution, potential employment opportunity, military entrance, scholarship eligibility, or a multitude of other purposes.

Statements made by a person providing a recommendation or verbal reference based on that individual’s personal observation or knowledge do not require a written release from the student who is making the request.  Examples of personal observations may include remarks such as the student’s work ethic, punctuality, dependability, creativity, and cooperation, to name a few.

However, if non-directory, personally identifiable information (PII) obtained from a student’s education record or other forms of evaluative material is included in the letter of recommendation or verbal reference, the writer is required to obtain a signed release from the student.  Non-directory PII may include items such as the student’s courses, grades, GPA, or examination results.  The writer is required to obtain a signed release from the student.  The release form 1) authorizes the individual who is to provide the recommendation, 2) specifies the records that may be disclosed, 3) states the purpose of the disclosure, and 4) identifies the recipient(s) to whom the disclosure can be made.  Additionally, the student has the right to read the letter of recommendation unless that right has been waived by the student.

Transylvania University employees who write letters of recommendation or provide verbal references that may include information from a student’s educational record should instruct the student to complete the Letter of Recommendation/Verbal Reference Release form.  By completing the form, the student has the opportunity to specify the type of information that can be included in the recommendation. The employee providing the recommendation may then opt to include some or all of the authorized information, in addition to providing their personal observations about the student.  If the student does not indicate which information may be disclosed, then only personal observations may be given, and no information from the student’s education record may be included without the student’s permission.

The form also provides the student with the opportunity to waive the right to review a copy of the letter of recommendation provided by the employee.  At any point in the future, the student may revoke the waiver to review a recommendation, but for only those requests for recommendation provided on or after the date the revocation was signed and dated by the student. The revocation must be made in writing to the University Registrar, and signed by the student.

FORM PROCESSING AND RETENTION

The student should sign and date the completed Letter of Recommendation/Verbal Reference Release form, and give it to the employee authorized to provide the recommendation.  The original Letter of Recommendation/Verbal Reference Release should be sent by the authorized employee to the Office of the University Registrar to be retained for a period of five (5) years from the date of the student’s siganture as part of the student’s education record. The employee is encouraged to maintain a copy of the form attached as well in their records for future reference.  The employee is not required to maintain a copy of the letter of recommendation, but if they do choose to do so the letter is part of the student’s education record and may be reviewed unless the student opts to waive their right via the Letter of Recommendation/Verbal Reference Release form.

DIRECTORY INFORMATION INCLUDES

  • Name.
  • Campus Address, including telephone number.
  • Home Address, including telephone number.
  • Major field of study.
  • Dates of attendance and classification.
  • Degrees or awards received, including scholarships.
  • Previous academic institutions attended.
  • Date of Birth.
  • Campus E-mail address.
  • Academic Advisor.
  • Full-time or Part-time status.
  • Student photograph.
  • Good standing.