The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of students. It affords parents the right to access and amend their children's education records, and gives them some control over the disclosure of the information in these records. FERPA generally prevents an education agency or institution from sharing student records, or personally identifiable information in these records, without the written consent of a parent.
U.S. Department of Education Resources
- As part of U.S. Department of Education, the Family Policy and Compliance Office is responsible for implementing two laws that seek to ensure student and parental rights in education: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). In addition to explaining these laws, this website contains a wealth of information, including hot topics, information for parents, legislative history, model notification for LEA officials, model notice for directory information, model notification of rights under the PPRA, court cases, and training opportunities.
- A Section-by-Section Analysis of the new FERPA guidelines is available. This document discusses the new regulations, noting key differences with the older guidelines.
- In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USED has produced Joint Guidance on the application of FERPA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to student health records. This document aims to address confusion among school administrators, health care professionals, and others about the relationship between these two laws and their application to student records.
- The director of the Family Policy and Compliance Office has addressed the issue of disclosing special education records under Open Records Law.
- The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) of the U.S. Department of Education assists states with implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This site offers a host of resources related to legislation, regulations, and policy documents.
Other Privacy-Related Resources
A wealth of other privacy-related resources are available online. Many of these websites address questions and concerns about the FERPA and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) as applied at the district and school levels.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' website on HIPAA provides factsheets, educational materials, and frequently asked questions about the law.
- The National Association of School Nurses provides an Issue Brief on Privacy Standards for Student Health Records. The association also has a resource page on FERPA and HIPAA (log in required).
- The Washington State Office of Public Instruction publishes a technical assistance paper on how HIPAA affects school districts when requesting medical records. Other web resources are available at the end of this paper.
Publications of the National Forum on Education Statistics do not undergo the formal review required for products of the National Center for Education Statistics. The information and opinions published here are the product of the National Forum on Education Statistics and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Center for Education Statistics.