Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
SDS respects the confidential nature of disability-related information. The University of South Florida and SDS have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of such documentation.
Access by USF personnel to disability-related information housed in SDS is on a need-to-know basis and only for the purpose of assuring appropriate accommodations. Instructors are regularly apprised of the confidential nature of disability-related information. Accommodation memos prepared by SDS staff do not give specific diagnoses. Instead, the memos list the approved academic accommodations for that student.
On a legitimate, educational need-to-know basis, SDS staff may discuss the impact or impairments caused by the disability and the corresponding accommodations approved with appropriate individuals on campus. Circumstances may include housing arrangements, academic accommodations, instructional strategies and resources or other circumstances specific to the individual. Whenever possible, SDS consults with the student prior to these conversations.
The University of South Florida and SDS are prohibited by law from releasing any disability-related records or personally identifying information to any entity outside of USF including documentation provided to SDS by the student, unless the student provides written permission or there is a court order. Students may request or approve the release of such information to persons or agencies outside of USF by signing a Release of Information Form. Entities outside the University includes parents of students over the age of 18. To discuss student-specific information with parents, a specific release of information must be signed by the student and placed in a student's file.