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December 23, 2011

U.S. Department of Education Issues Revised FERPA Regulations

On January 3, 2012, revised regulations interpreting the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) will go into effect.  The revised regulations offer guidance with respect to the evaluation and audit exception that allows state and local educational agencies to disclose personally identifiable information for the evaluation of State and Federally-funded programs, and the ability of local educational agencies to disclose directory information.


The existing regulations allow state and local educational agencies to disclose student information to assess the effectiveness of State and Federally-funded education programs.  This is an exception to the general rule that educational agencies may not disclose personally identifiable information without the parent's (or eligible student's) authorization.  For example, a local school district could disclose personally identifiable information to the Department of Early and Secondary Education to allow the agency to evaluate the success of different programs.  The revised regulations, however, require the disclosing agency to enter into a written agreement ensuring the use of "reasonable methods" to ensure the receiving educational agency complies with FERPA.


The revised regulations also clarify that school districts may adopt policies regarding the disclosure of directory information to specific parties, for specific purposes, or both. The revised regulations also provide that while parents and eligible students retain the right to opt out of any directory, they may not prevent a school district from requiring a student to wear or present a student ID card that contains personal information on it.


For more information about compliance with FERPA or the State student records law, please contact us.

Education Law Group 


Mirick O'Connell

100 Front Street

Worcester, MA  01608

t 508.791.8500

f 508.791.8502


1800 West Park Drive, Suite 400

Westborough, MA  01581

t 508.898.1501

f 508.898.1502







































This client alert is intended to inform you of developments in the law and to provide information of general interest.   It is not intended to constitute legal advice regarding a client's specific legal issues and should not be relied upon as such.  This client alert may be considered advertising under the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.