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Commonly Asked Questions
Summary of Key Federal Laws
What agencies are subject to federal laws on the privacy of education records?
Do privacy assurances differ across federal education programs?
Are individuals liable for penalties if they do not adhere to the requirements of FERPA?
What do state and local education agency personnel need to know about federal privacy laws pertaining to education records?
About which federal student records laws do school district or state education agency administrators need to be informed?
What are the FERPA restrictions on matching data from student information files with data from other agency files?
What are the responsibilities of state education agencies for providing parent or eligible students access to education records?
Protecting the Privacy of Individuals During Data Collection Process
How do I decide what information to collect about a student?
Must I have permission from the parents to give an achievement test to a student?
How responsible am I for the accuracy of the student data I receive?
When can I destroy student records? When not?
Can I use social security numbers to identify or match education records?
Securing the Privacy of Data Maintained and Used within an Agency
If a student's record is corrected at the district level, must the district inform other holders of that record?
What should I do when elected officials or others with authority over me want to see individual education records?
If some student data are protected and others are not, must I keep separate sets of records on students?
Does everyone in an agency have access rights to student records?
Do contractors or vendors for an agency have access rights to student records?
Who can do filing, typing, and data entry of education records?
What policies should a school district, regional office, and state education agency have in effect?
Providing Parents Access to Their Child's Records
Can students review their own records?
How do I respond speedily to requests for reviewing student records?
Should I authenticate requests for student information? How far do my responsibilities extend?
Can I discuss the education record of a student in front of someone the parent has brought along, such as a language interpreter or a friend who sits in when I let the parent review the record?
Do I have to provide copies of an education record when the parents request to see it?
Must I allow a parent to make a copy of an education record?
Do non-custodial parents have access rights to student records?
What do I do if a non-custodial parent requests to amend an education record?
Must I give my notes on a student to his or her parent?
What are the access rights of emancipated minors?
Releasing Information Outside an Agency
Who (other than parents) must a school official allow to see an education record of a student?
Which public officials have access to education records without consent of a parent?
If a parent makes information about a student public, must school officials keep that piece of information confidential?
Must a school official release a student's record to a family lawyer?
What penalties apply to the misuse or improper disclosure of confidential information?
What are the liabilities of a third party's misuses of education records?
Can student records be transmitted electronically, via the Internet and facsimile?
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Lee M. Hoffman
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