Letter of Recommendation | Kent State University

Letter of Recommendation

Letter of Recommendation/Verbal Reference Release

Requests by current and former students for letters of recommendation and verbal references are commonplace for faculty, administrators and other staff at Kent State 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, grade point average, 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.

Kent State 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 four (4) years as part of the student's education record. The employee is encouraged to maintain a copy of the form as well in their records for future reference.

For convenience, students and alumni who currently have access to FlashLine may also complete and submit the Release under the Requests and Authorizations section on the Student / Resources page. The form will be automatically sent to the employee and the Univeristy Registrar will be notified of the waiver.

DIRECTORY INFORMATION INCLUDES:

  • the student's name
  • local and permanent address
  • telephone listing
  • class standing
  • enrollment status
  • honors
  • major field of study
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • dates of attendance
  • degrees and awards received
  • high school graduated from
  • email address
  • and most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION RELEASE (PDF)