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Have you heard of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act?

Privacy is important to everyone. And it’s an essential part of public safety. Just as patients’ health records contain ultra-sensitive information like Social Security numbers and home addresses, so do student records. And cyber thieves don’t discriminate when it comes to hacking the information they need to commit identity theft.

The soon-to-be released Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), would allow states to share data to ensure that tax dollars are being effectively invested in programs and increase accountability for schools that process FERPA protected records, according to a press release on the Department of Education’s website.

Not all schools and libraries have the necessary wherewithal to hire on-staff IT professionals to help them stay compliant with CIPA and FERPA regulations. That’s where managed services providers (MSP) that specialize in serving the needs of schools can help. Instead of school administrators having to remind themselves to keep up to date with any changes in the laws and ensure that compliance policies are properly implemented, MSPs provide qualified IT professionals to take care of those vital responsibilities and give advice when needed.

Under the Department of Education’s proposal:

  • Enforcement provisions of FERPA would be strengthened to ensure that everyone who works with personally identifiable information from student education records is only using it for authorized purposes.
  • Schools will be able to implement directory information policies that limit access to student records, preventing marketers or criminals from accessing the data.
  • States can enter into research agreements on behalf of their districts to measure the success of programs, such as early childhood programs that effectively prepare kids for kindergarten.
  • High school administrators can share information on student achievement to track how their graduates perform academically in college.

Maintaining the privacy of students’ personal information is of the utmost importance. Without the protections provided by FERPA, CIPA and other regulations, it would be difficult, even dangerous, for schools and libraries to allow students access to the Internet to do research, apply to colleges and universities or any of the many other things that they use the Internet for during the day.

Need help figuring out how to protect your organization and maintain compliance with FERPA standards?  Call us today and we can help you understand FERPA and everything you need to watch out for.

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