The Family Policy Compliance Office is excited to announce the launch  of the new Student Privacy Website! This new website replaces both the Privacy Technical Assistance Center’s and the Family Policy Compliance Office’s sites.  The Student Privacy Website can be found at:  https://studentprivacy.ed.gov. Be sure to update your bookmarks accordingly!

Must educational agencies and institutions record any disclosure of PII from education records to the CWA or tribal organization?

Yes.  FERPA requires recordkeeping on requests for access to and disclosures of education records.  See § 99.32.  The FERPA regulations state that an educational agency or institution:  (1) shall maintain a record of each request for access to and each disclosure of PII from the education records of each student; and (2) shall maintain the record with the education records of the student as long as the records are maintained.  Thus, if a school discloses education records to the CWA or tribal organization under this exception, the school must be compliant with the recordation requi

Does FERPA permit educational agencies and institutions to disclose PII from education records to CWAs or tribal organizations, without consent, when the student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution but remains in foster care pla

Yes.  Once a student reaches 18 years old or attends a postsecondary institution at any age, the student becomes an eligible student and the rights under FERPA transfer to that student.  FERPA governs the disclosure of PII from the education records of an eligible student in the same fashion as it governs the disclosure of PII from the education records of a student under the age of 18.

Does FERPA permit schools to disclose a student’s education records to the State or local CWA or tribal organization?

There are exceptions to consent in FERPA that permit, but do not require, local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools to disclose personally identifiable information (PII) from education records under certain conditions without the written consent of the parent or eligible student.  Congress amended FERPA to add an additional exception to the general requirement of consent in FERPA that permits LEAs and schools to disclose education records of students placed in foster care, without consent of the parent or eligible student, to an agency caseworker or other representativ

Are schools required to record the disclosure of PII from students’ education records whenever they make disclosures?

Subject to certain exceptions addressed below, schools must maintain a record of each request for access to and each disclosure of PII from the education records of each student, as well as the names of State and local educational authorities and federal officials and agencies listed in § 99.31(a)(3) that may make further disclosures of PII from students’ education records without consent.  The school must maintain the record with the education records of the student as long as the education records are maintained.      

Are there any limitations to sharing information based on personal knowledge or observations?

The general rule regarding personal knowledge and observations does not apply where a school official learns of information about a student through his or her official role in making a determination about the student and the determination is maintained in an education record.  For example, under FERPA a principal or other school official who took official action to suspend a student may not disclose that information, absent consent or an exception under § 99.31 that permits the disclosure.

Does FERPA permit school officials to release information that they personally observed or of which they have personal knowledge?

FERPA applies to the disclosure of education records and of PII from education records that are maintained by the school.  Therefore, FERPA does not prohibit a school official from releasing information about a student that was obtained through the school official’s personal knowledge or observation, rather than from the student’s education records.  For example, if a teacher overhears a student making threatening remarks to other students, FERPA does not protect that information from disclosure.  Therefore, a school official may disclose what he or she overheard to appropriate authorities,

Does FERPA permit the disclosure of PII from education records to officials of a State’s juvenile justice system?

FERPA permits schools to non-consensually disclose PII from education records to State and local officials or other authorities if the disclosure is allowed by a State law adopted after November 19, 1974, and if the disclosure concerns the juvenile justice system and its ability to serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records are disclosed.  See §§ 99.31(a)(5) and 99.38.  The officials and authorities to whom such information is disclosed must certify in writing to the school that the information will not be provided to any other party, except as provided for under State

Does FERPA permit schools to disclose any and all education records on a student to another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll?

Yes.  FERPA states a school may disclose education records, without parental consent (§ 99.31(a)(2)), to another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, subject to conditions set forth in § 99.34.  This exception to FERPA’s general consent requirement also permits a school to disclose education records when a student is being placed in a juvenile justice facility that is considered a school. 

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