The U.S. Department of Education issued new guidance on December 20 addressing the efficiency and enforcement of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The guidance follows the November release of an audit report undertaken by the Office of the Inspector General addressing the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer’s handling of complaints brought under FERPA. The audit determined the Privacy Office did not have proper controls to ensure it timely and effectively processed FERPA complaints, and included corrective action recommendations:
A month after the audit, the Department of Education has issued new guidance:
The Department will continue to conduct full, formal investigations where necessary and appropriate to enforce rights and resolve violations under the statute and regulations. In making these determinations, we will adopt the Office of Inspector General’s recommendation to prioritize the highest risk complaints for formal investigation based on “the severity of risk to student privacy, the number of students affected, [and] other relevant factors.”
The department has added a four-page summary of the anticipated changes on its website. If you have any questions on the guidance and how it affects your school, please reach out to me or any member of the Barley Snyder Education Practice Group.