Disclosure means to permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information (PII) by any means (34 CFR §99.3). Disclosure can be Authorized, such as when a parent or an eligible student gives written consent to share education records with an authorized party (e.g., a researcher). Disclosure can also be Unauthorized or inadvertent (accidental). An unauthorized disclosure can happen due to a data breach or a loss, and an accidental disclosure can occur when data released in public aggregate reports are unintentionally presented in a manner that allows individual students to be identified.

Additional information is available in the PTAC publication Data De-identification: An Overview of Basic Terms.