Letters of Recommendation and Phone References
Writing letters of recommendation and responding to reference checks by potential employers of our students and alumni are an integral part of our role as faculty and staff at an institution of higher learning. However, releasing any information without a waiver related to an individual’s academic record, performance in your class, or even whether they were enrolled in your class, is a violation of FERPA.
If the student sends you a form where language is present to indicate that the student is providing permission for information to be released about them, then you can simply fill out the form and provide the reference. If no such language is present, then the UH Office of the General Counsel provides a form for you to give to students to provide the written permission required.
It is a simple check-the-box type form with a signature, so it is quick and easy for the student to fill it out. Students can provide permissions either for a specific instance or for blanket permissions that you can keep on file for the future if they need another reference from you later.
The UH form can be accessed at the following link:
Reference Request and FERPA Release Waiver
It is also available on the Faculty and Staff Resources page accessible from the NSM homepage, www.uh.edu/nsm/resources/faculty-staff/
Downloading the PDF so that you do not have to hunt for the link will save you time and effort!
Ensuring you have the release form on file protects you from any potential future lawsuits. Know your FERPA rules and stay within the guidelines!
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