at Advocates for Children
151 West 30th Street
New York, NY 10001
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides important protections to make sure that students and families can access their school records and keep them private. Under FERPA, schools must:
- Get prior consent from the parent or student (if the student is 18 or older) before releasing information from a student's educational record to a third party, unless the third party is related to a student's continued education (for example, a new school district).
- Allow parents to access their child's educational records, including transcripts, when requested
- Allow students to access their own educational records, including transcripts, when requested, even if they are under 18.
Privacy protections for students in temporary housing have been strengthened with the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Act under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which went into effect on October 1, 2016. ESSA and FERPA limit the kind of information a school district may share with third parties when verifying the eligibility of a student under McKinney-Vento. Information about a student's housing situation is now considered protected information, and can not be shared with third parties without prior consent from the parent or student. (However, MV liaisons can still share student information with a new school district to help the student enroll in school.)
Find answers to commonly asked questions about privacy of student records for students in temporary housing situations.
The U.S. Department of Education Student Privacy Website has information for students, parents, and school officials about the obligations and rights of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The site includes a Frequently Asked Question section and an Ask a Question option.
This memo from the National Center for Homeless Education provides helpful information on what to do and what not to do when determining if a student is eligible for services under McKinney-Vento, and enrolling a student in temporary housing in school. Please note: this document does not include information on strengthened protections for student privacy with the reauthorization of McKinney-Vento under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), but it includes tips for sensitivity verifying eligibility.
Laws and Guidance
On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education issued updated Non-Regulatory Guidance for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. This revised Non-Regulatory Guidance for the McKinney-Vento program replaces the July 2016 Guidance and includes new questions about amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which took effect on October 1, 2016. It also includes promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.
This link provides the full text of the federal regulations about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
This Guidance from the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) at the U.S. Department of Education is called, "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Disclosure of Student Information Related to Emergencies and Disasters." It includes information that can help unaccompanied youth and their caregivers in accessing student educational records. The Guidance clarifies in question 3 that caregivers can access a student's educational records, even if they are not legal guardians and are not related to the student. The Guidance also explains in questions 5 and 6 that schools can give unaccompanied youth full access to their own records, even when they are under 18. (After they turn 18, students also have the right to access their records.)
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
Stay tuned for our Fall 2018 workshop and training schedule.