Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)

This section houses all guidance documents, training materials, policy letters and other resources directly related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  The FERPA regulations can be found here.

Guidance and Best Practices

Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center, working with the Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance office, has developed a checklist document that provides a framework for evaluating online educational tools' Terms of Service Agreements.  This document is intended to assist users in understanding how a given online service or app will collect, use and/or transmit user information so that they can then decide whether or not to sign up.

The document is divided into several sections:

Guidance and Best Practices

Responsibilities of Third-Party Service Providers under FERPA

This document was developed by PTAC to assist online educational services providers, vendors, and contractors in understanding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Similar guidance, Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services, is intended for school audiences; this guidance presents the same material, but in a format geared toward third-party service providers.

Guidance and Best Practices

Guidance for Reasonable Methods and Written Agreements

This document provides guidance for schools, school districts, postsecondary institutions, and State educational authorities (such as State educational agencies) that may disclose personally identifiable information from education records. The document provides these entities with information about requirements and best practices for data disclosures under the studies exception and the audit or evaluation exception, as specified in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

written agreement agreements

Letters

Letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring Regarding Public Release of Executive Summary provided to University of Virginia Board of Visitors

Letter to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring providing guidance and technical assistance regarding the applicability of FERPA to the potential public release of an executive summary of a report provided to the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors.

Guidance and Best Practices

Identity Authentication Best Practices

This brief offers best practice recommendations for developing and implementing effective authentication processes to help ensure that only appropriate individuals and entities have access to education records. General suggestions provided in the brief are applicable to all modes of data access, be it in person, over the phone, by mail, or electronically.

Guidance and Best Practices

Cloud Computing FAQ

This document is designed to assist educational agencies and institutions that are considering using cloud computing solutions for education data. It contains responses to frequently asked questions about meeting necessary data privacy and data security requirements, including compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, to ensure proper protection of education records.

Guidance and Best Practices

Contractor Responsibilities Under FERPA: Single Page

This document is intended for state educational agencies (SEAs) and/or their contracted companies to use to inform the contractors’ staff about their responsibilities to protect students’ personally identifiable information acquired under FERPA’s audit or evaluation exception.

This version is a single-page .pdf intended for use as a standard FERPA-only acknowledgement.

 

Guidance and Best Practices

Contractor Responsibilities Under FERPA: Tri-fold

This document is intended for state educational agencies (SEAs) and/or their contracted companies to use to inform the contractors’ staff about their responsibilities to protect students’ personally identifiable information acquired under FERPA’s audit or evaluation exception.

This version is a tri-fold brochure for Microsoft Word that leaves space to amend applicable state or local privacy laws.