Department of Education

The COVID-19 virus is having an unprecedented effect on all aspects of our daily lives, and has hit the educational system especially hard with forced closures and cancellations.  Because educational institutions play such a vital role in our communities, the Department of Education (DOE) recently issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (Guidance)  

As the myriad of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act  (FERPA) interpretation issues continues to cloud many educators’ understanding of what is permissible and not permissible under the statute, some assistance was recently provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) advises that as with any other “education record,” a

On January 30, 2018, EDUCAUSE, a higher education technology association, submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education describing concerns that it had with the Federal Student Aid (“FSA”) ability to protect federal student financial aid data. EDUCAUSE’s members include IT professionals from over 1,800 colleges and universities as well as other organizations.

First,

On February 22, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE) withdrew their May 13, 2016 “Dear Colleague” letter that provided guidance on steps to protect transgender students under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) as well as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Although the letter did not add any requirements to the law, it did provide guidance to covered entities as to how agencies would interpret and enforce the law. The decision by DOJ and DOE to withdraw the letter has clouded the issue and left its application to transgender students in question.
Continue Reading DOE and DOJ Withdrawl of “Dear Colleague” Letter Leaves FERPA’s Guidance Unresolved

This year has been a busy year for education law in the area of data privacy. Educational institutions continue to be a rich target for hackers. Additionally, there were some important developments in the interpretation of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) as it applies to educational institutions.

  • In December, DeVry University Settled with the FTC for $100 million over allegations that it misled prospective students with ads that promised higher employment success and income upon graduation.
  • Also in December, UMass Amherst settled with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for $650,000 for HIPAA violations related to a malware infection that led to the release of names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, health insurance information, diagnoses, and procedure codes.
  • In November, a hacker gained access to 1,213 records of applicants to the University of Wisconsin Law School.
  • On September 14, 2016, the Department of Education (DOE) issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” providing guidance on the application of FERPA to the disclosure of student medical records in the context of litigation.

Continue Reading Top Ten Education Developments, Breaches, and Settlements of 2016

On September 14, 2016, the Department of Education (DOE) issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” to provide guidance on the application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to the disclosure of student medical records in the context of litigation.

FERPA generally prohibits a school from disclosing personally identifiable information from a student’s education

On July 16, 2015, the Department of Education issued a request through notice to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for emergency clearance so that Federal Student Aid (FSA) can initiate a formal security assessment program of the 28 independently owned Guaranty Agencies that are involved in the collection and transfer of data of