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

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 and Best Practices

Understanding the Confidentiality Requirements Applicable to IDEA Early Childhood Programs FAQ

The purpose of this document is to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—Part B section 611 (Grants to States), Part B section 619 (Preschool Grants), and Part C (Grants for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities)—with addressing privacy and confidentiality questions.

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

Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and Best Practices

This document addresses privacy and security considerations relating to computer software, mobile applications (apps), and web-based tools provided by a third-party to a school or district that students and/or their parents access via the Internet and use as part of a school activity. Examples include online services that students use to access class readings, to view their learning progression, to watch video demonstrations, to comment on class activities, or to complete their homework.

Guidance and Best Practices

Frequently Asked Questions - Disclosure Avoidance

This document is intended to provide general guidance to State and local educational agencies and institutions about the best practice strategies for protecting personally identifiable information from education records in aggregate reports. The paper provides suggestions on how to ensure that necessary confidentiality requirements are met, including compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The information is presented in the form of responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs), followed by a list of additional resources at the end.

Guidance and Best Practices

PTAC Teacher Training Focus Groups Report

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) conducted a series of focus groups to gain insight into teachers’ needs for training on student privacy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This report documents the findings of these focus groups, as well as recommendations on how to develop new student privacy and FERPA training for teachers.

Recorded Webinars

Integrated Data Systems and Student Privacy

This webinar accompanies the guidance document on Integrated Data Systems. This presentation provides background information on what an Integrated Data System (IDS) is and why educational authorities may choose to participate in one, and clarifies how such authorities can participate in an IDS while ensuring student privacy in compliance with FERPA.

Guidance and Best Practices

Model Notice for Directory Information (En Espanol)

This document is a template notice for notifying parents and eligible students (students over 18 years of age or attending a school beyond the high school level) about the type of information from student’s education records, designated by a School District as “directory information,” that schools may disclose without consent, unless advised to the contrary.  This version is the Spanish translation.