NYS-TEACHS › Info by Topic: Privacy of Student Records

skip to main content

at Advocates for Children

151 West 30th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10001

TEL 800.388.2014
FAX 212.807.6872


PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, the resources on this page may not be current.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.

Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

Privacy of Student Records

Resources | Laws and Guidance

Privacy protections for students in temporary housing have been strengthened under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). In general, a student's school records cannot be released without the consent of a parent under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA. Additionally, 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 There are several important exceptions to this rule that affect students experiencing homelessness. For example, parental consent is not needed if the release of records is for the purposes of enrollment in a new school. Also, in certain circumstances, unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness may not need parental consent to access their educational records. Unaccompanied homeless youth are youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian AND lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. These students face additional barriers when attempting to access their educational records, as they are often acting without the guidance of a parent or guardian. Click on the links below to get more information on the privacy laws regarding student educational records.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Find answers to commonly asked questions about privacy of student records for students in temporary housing situations.


Confirming Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Services: Do's and Don'ts for Local Liaisons [PDF]

This document provides helpful information on what to do and what not to do when determining if a student is eligibile for services under McKinney-Vento, and enrolling a student in temporary housing in school.

Laws and Guidance

2016 - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program: Non-Regulatory Guidance [PDF]

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 that reflect both the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which take effect on October 1, 2016, and new technical assistance on promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) [PDF]

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of educational records and generally requires schools to have written permission from a parent before releasing any information from a child's records.

Accessing Student Records Under FERPA [PDF]

This Guidance from the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) at the U.S. Department of Education, "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Disclosure of Student Information Related to Emergencies and Disasters" contains information that can assist unaccompanied youth and their caregivers in accessing student educational records. The Guidance clarifies in question 3 that caregivers can access 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. (Once they turn 18, students have the right to access their records.)


Upcoming Workshops and Trainings

Stay tuned for the Summer and Fall 2017 Workshop and Training schedules.

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned for the Fall/Winter 2017 Webinar series.

Webinar Schedule

Recorded Webinars and Materials

More dates, information and registration

Workshops and Training Materials

Training and Workshop Materials