Organized Files

Privacy of Student Records

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.)

Topic Resources

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Website

6 Things to Know About Privacy, FERPA, and Homelessness

This fact sheet briefly explains what educational information pertaining to homeless students can be shared, with whom, and under what circumstances, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the McKinney-Vento Act.

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Laws & Guidance

Access to School Records for Unaccompanied Youth

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,” 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.)

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Guides & Fact Sheets

Confirming Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Rights and Services

NCHE Brief

This issue brief from NCHE provides helpful information on what to do and what not to do when determining if a student is eligible for services under McKinney-Vento. Please note: with the reauthorization of McKinney-Vento under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which went into effect on October 1, 2016, there are stronger privacy protections relating to the confidentiality of address information for students in temporary housing.

About the Source

NCHE: Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) operates the Department’s technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. In this role, NCHE works with schools, service providers, parents, and other interested stakeholders to ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness can enroll and succeed in school.

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Laws & Guidance

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Federal Regulations

This link provides the full text of the federal regulations about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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Laws & Guidance

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, Reauthorized by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is a federal law that protects the public education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The text attached here is the latest version of the law since it was reauthorized on December 10, 2015 by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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Laws & Guidance

Non-Regulatory Guidance for the Education for Homeless Children and Youths

United States Department of Education

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) revised the Non-Regulatory Guidance for the Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program. This revised Non-Regulatory Guidance replaces the July 2016 Guidance and includes new questions and answers on the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which took effect on October 1, 2016, and new technical assistance on promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.

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Laws & Guidance

Non-Regulatory Guidance for the Education for Homeless Children and Youths- FACT SHEET

United States Department of Education

A Non-Regulatory Guidance factsheet and addendum to the Non-Regulatory Guidance regarding Title I set-asides for students experiencing homelessness was published in July 2018 by the U.S. DOE.

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Website

SchoolHouse Connection: Student Privacy, FERPA, and Homelessness

Supporting students in temporary housing often involves collaboration between school staff, service providers, and other professionals. This collaboration must be sensitive to student privacy rights and must not create barriers to student identification, enrollment, or retention in school. This issue brief and two-pager from SchoolHouse Connection outline what educational information pertaining to students experiencing homelessness can be shared, with whom, and under what circumstances, as per FERPA and the McKinney-Vento Act. The full-length brief also provides best practices and tips collected from school districts across the country.

You can view these resources on SchoolHouse Connection’s website.

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Guides & Fact Sheets

SchoolHouse Connection: Student Privacy, FERPA, and Homelessness

Supporting students in temporary housing often involves collaboration between school staff, service providers, and other professionals. This collaboration must be sensitive to student privacy rights and must not create barriers to student identification, enrollment, or retention in school. This issue brief and two-pager from SchoolHouse Connection outline what educational information pertaining to students experiencing homelessness can be shared, with whom, and under what circumstances, as per FERPA and the McKinney-Vento Act. The full-length brief also provides best practices and tips collected from school districts across the country.

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Website

Student Privacy Website

United States Department of Education

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 Questions section and an Ask a Question option.

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Guides & Fact Sheets

Tip Sheet: Information Sharing and Student Privacy

NYS-TEACHS

This tip sheet from NYS-TEACHS provides information about when it is appropriate to share a student’s housing information with school/district staff. It also provides tips for “how” to share that information while still respecting the student’s privacy.