About Us

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of federal laws relating to the privacy of students’ education records, and for the provision of technical assistance on student privacy issues for the broader education community. For more information about the office's other functions, please visit OCPO's page on ED.gov.  OCPO’s student privacy functions are divided across two divisions within the office.  

The Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) is responsible for investigating and enforcing complaints from parents and eligible students relating to their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  FPCO also provides technical assistance to parents and students who feel their rights under FERPA may have been violated.
The Student Privacy Policy and Assistance Division is responsible for developing policy and guidance on long-standing and emerging student privacy policy issues, and for providing general and targeted technical assistance to educational agencies and institutions, and the broader education community on issues relating to statutory and regulatory compliance, as well as best practices for protecting student privacy beyond compliance with Federal requirements.

The Department’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), located within the Student Privacy Policy and Assistance Division, was established in 2010 as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level data systems and other uses of student data.  PTAC’s primary role is the provision of the following services:

  • operating a Student Privacy Help Desk, offering assistance on complex student privacy issues to the education community via phone or email;
  • developing privacy and security training materials for States and districts;
  • issuing privacy and security best practice recommendations, including issue briefs and checklists;
  • conducting technical assistance site visits to SEAs and LEAs; and
  • hosting privacy-focused regional meetings and lessons learned forums for education stakeholders.

Bios for the key staff charged with educating the field on student privacy can be found here.

Student Privacy Leadership at ED

Family Policy Compliance Office

Michael B. Hawes, Acting Director

Frank Miller, Deputy Director

 

Student Privacy Policy and Assistance Division

Michael B. Hawes, Director

Ross Lemke (Contractor), PTAC Manager