By Audience: Parents and Students

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords certain rights to Parents and Eligible Students in regards to Education Records that are maintained by schools and universities.  This section is dedicated to providing resources and guidance that directly refer to these rights held by parents and eligible students.

Guidance

A Parent's Guide to FERPA

Formerly known as the FERPA General Guidance for Parents.  This document was updated in July of 2021 and is intended to provide parents with general information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This document is a compilation and update of various letters and guidance documents previously issued that respond to a variety of questions about FERPA.

Best Practices

May Schools Disclose Information about Cases of COVID-19?

Schools across the nation are working hard to keep students, teachers, and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many schools are wondering whether the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows them to disclose information about cases of COVID-19 to the community. The Student Privacy Policy Office provided answers to these questions in our March 2020 guidance. Subsequent to issuing the guidance, we have seen reports that states, cities, school districts, and schools are continuing to face questions about disclosing COVID-19 cases.

Guidance

Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of FERPA Enforcement

The Department is committed to protecting student privacy. To provide more timely and effective assistance to parents and students and to address a recommendation made by the Department’s Office of the Inspector General to “implement a risk-based approach to processing and resolving FERPA complaints,”  the Department is modifying its investigatory practices to more efficiently address and resolve complaints and violations under FERPA.  

Guidance

Technical Assistance on Student Privacy for State and Local Educational Agencies When Administering College Admissions Examinations

The administration of college admissions examinations by SEAs and LEAs raises potential legal issues under FERPA, IDEA, PPRA, and State privacy laws, and generally raises concerns about privacy best practices. In particular, the pre-test surveys administered in connection with these exams raised privacy concerns that SEAs and LEAs must consider when contracting with the testing companies. This document discusses the legal issues, and advises SEAs and LEAs about how to remain in compliance when administering the tests. The document also conveys best practice recommendations to encourage transparency and parental involvement.

Guidance

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) General Guidance

This guidance document reviews parents’ rights under the PPRA and education officials’ obligations in implementing the PPRA.  The PPRA applies to the programs and activities of a State educational agency (SEA), local educational agency (LEA), or other recipient of funds under any program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. (20 U.S.C. § 1232h, 34 CFR Part 98)

SPPO-21-01