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University Disability Support Services|Student Educational Opportunity

Confidentiality and UDSS Students 

Protecting your privacy and the information you have shared with UDSS is important to us.  Our policy is to ensure that both the documentation provided to our office about a disability and other information related to you is handled with respect.

UDSS requests documentation to verify that your condition(s) is a disability defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and its amendments, and to assist us in working with you to form a plan to accommodate your disability-related needs at UW.

UDSS student files contain the completed application and the documentation provided us.  They also contain our notes pertaining to meetings with students and the services that we have facilitated, as well as copies of correspondence, schedules, grades, etc..  According to FERPA (The Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act) students have a right to access their file.  If students ever wish to see their file, arrangements can be made with their coordinator to view it.  A pre-arranged appointment is necessary.

Information about disabilities, medical conditions, use of accommodation services, etc. are retained in separate, educational records and are never recorded on academic transcripts, degrees earned, etc.  Disability-related information is not shared with prospective employers, other institutions, etc. without the student's written permission.

UDSS retains files for seven (7) years after the last semester enrolled at UW.  At that time, the file is shredded.  Because files are not retained indefinitely, we encourage students to obtain and keep copies of documentation for future use.

UDSS follows the following guidelines to preserve the privacy of disability-related records:

  • Only appropriate UDSS personnel have access to student files.  Any information regarding a disability is confidential and will be discussed with other UW personnel only with a legitimate educational interest, as stated under FERPA.  
  • The fact that a student is enrolled in UDSS and/or any other information about the student will be shared with non-University parties, including family members, only with the student's written consent.
  • Copies of documentation and information about services received at UW may be shared with other institutions upon request and with the written consent of the student.  In some cases, students may be referred to the originating source of the documentation to share with other parties.
  • Staff may share some information about UDSS students in emergency situations when there is a legitimate concern for the student's or other's well being.


For questions regarding confidentiality and your rights, please contact your coordinator.

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