Most Requested Documents

The United States Department of Education is charged with helping schools protect the privacy of student educational records. Laws like the Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Act (PPRA) govern how schools collect, maintain, and use student’s personal information.

The Department’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) serves as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to uses of student data. PTAC regularly releases guidance and best practices to assist schools that need to comply with the federal laws overseen by the U.S. Department of Education.

The following resources are some of the more popular resources from PTAC:

  • The Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services guidance clarifies some questions related to student privacy and the use of educational technology in the classroom.
  • The Model Terms of Service checklist provides a framework for evaluating online educational tools’ Privacy Policies and Terms of Service Agreements. This resource is intended to assist users in understanding how a given online service or app will collect, use and/or transmit user information so that a school or school district can then decide whether or not to sign up.
  • Transparency Best Practices provides a number of recommendations for keeping parents and students better informed about schools’ and districts’ collection and use of student data.
  • The Best Practices for Data Destruction guide discusses how to properly destroy sensitive student data after it is no longer needed.  It details the lifecycle of data and discusses various legal requirements relating to the destruction of data under FERPA.  The guide also discusses best practices for data destruction and provides some real-world examples of how to implement it within your organization.
  • Our Data Breach Response Training Kit provides a series of exercises intended to assist schools, districts, and other educational organizations to better respond to known or suspected data breaches involving student data.