Guidance on the Use of Financial Aid Information for Program Evaluation and Research

Last Updated: January 2017

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This document is intended to provide postsecondary educational institutions clarification on the conditions under which federal student financial aid information may be used for program evaluation and research purposes. Numerous federal laws govern access to, disclosure of, and use of student financial aid information, including, but not limited to: Section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (commonly referred to as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA]); the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA); and the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (Privacy Act). As the interplay of these various laws in different situations can be complex, in addition to a discussion, this document provides some questions and answers about possible situations in which student financial aid information may, or may not, be used for these purposes.