Do you know your rights under federal law as a student or as the parent of a student with protected student records? Which organizations have you authorized to handle your protected records? If those organizations are not in compliance with federal laws, your records could be mishandled, altered, stolen, or otherwise compromised. Student records are protected personal information, and the organizations that handle those records must comply with federal law to ensure their security.
Most people understand how crucial record storage and compliance is for the legal industry and medical field. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is just as important for data security, but far less well-known when it comes to compliance for student record storage. If you are a student or the parent of a student, you should know the rights FERPA affords you when it comes to the privacy of your student records. If you operate any type of organization that handles student records, compliance with the act is a necessity.
What Is FERPA?
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student records. Many students must approve the transfer of their student records to secure placement in other educational institutions, start internships, or even to apply for certain jobs. The act exists to ensure safe transmission and preservation of student records and set guidelines for proper handling of student records.
The provisions of FERPA establish how all parties who handle student records must treat and store those records. The act also enforces guidelines for publishing of student directory information, such as student names, addresses, and contact information, and schools must notify students if they intend to publish any directory information.
FERPA dictates when, how, and why records may be transferred between parties. Generally, FERPA ensures that any organization in possession of student records may not publish, share, or transmit those records to any other parties without express written consent of the student or the student’s parents.
Storing and Archiving School Records
Efficient and compliant storage and archiving of school records are no longer optional but essential in today’s educational landscape. Proper storage not only streamlines operations and enhances accessibility, but it also safeguards sensitive student data, ensuring adherence to FERPA guidelines. Whether it’s test scores, medical records, or personal student information, each piece of data requires careful handling and secure storage.
Choosing our storage solutions means entrusting your records to an experienced team that prioritizes compliance, security, and efficiency. We implement best-in-class technologies, stringent protocols, and proven methods to store and archive school records. By doing so, we help you navigate the complexities of data management, allowing you to focus more on education and less on administrative tasks.
Don’t leave your record storage to chance; instead, rely on a partner that understands the importance of secure, compliant, and accessible data storage. Contact us today to learn more about our storage solutions tailored for educational institutions and take the first step towards seamless and secure school record management.
Does FERPA Compliance Apply to You?
FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a critical component in the educational field that has far-reaching implications for student record storage. This U.S. federal law governs the privacy of student education records and applies to all schools receiving funds through a program administered by the Secretary of Education.
As an educator, administrator, or educational institution, FERPA applies to you if:
- You provide educational services or instruction, or both, to students.
- You are an authorized agency controlling public elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institutions.
- Your institution or its components, such as departments within a university, receive funds under one or more of the programs covered by FERPA.
Keep in mind, these regulations do not apply solely because your students receive non-monetary benefits under a program, unless funds under that program are made available to your agency or institution. As part of FERPA rights, students are given the right to inspect and review their education records. It’s crucial to ensure these records are stored in a secure, accessible manner while adhering to FERPA standards.
What are the Penalties for FERPA Violations in Student Record Storage?
FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is not merely an advisory law, but one that comes with potential penalties for non-compliance. This federal law is designed to protect the privacy of student education records and applies to all educational institutions receiving funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
As a professional in the education sector, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential repercussions for violating FERPA regulations, which include:
- Withholding of Federal Funds: Non-compliance could lead to the withholding of federal funding, impacting the financial health of your institution.
- Legal Enforcement: The U.S. Department of Education can issue a complaint to compel compliance with FERPA regulations.
- Additional Actions: Depending on the nature and severity of the FERPA violation, the Department of Education can take other actions as appropriate.
Remember, FERPA provides rights to parents and eligible students (students who are at least 18 years old or who attend a postsecondary institution), including the right to inspect, review, and request amendment of the student’s education records. It also restricts the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the student’s education records without written consent. Ensuring your student record storage aligns with FERPA guidelines helps to maintain trust, uphold privacy, and avoid these penalties.
Why Invest in Student Record Storage Services?
If you operate any kind of organization that handles protected student records, FERPA compliance is an absolute requirement. Failure to abide by FERPA guidelines or even unintentional mishandling of protected records can lead to severe legal penalties and civil liability for affected students’ damages.
In addition to legal penalties, your organization may also suffer a serious blow to its professional reputation for failing to abide by FERPA guidelines. It is not only essential to follow all FERPA regulations for student record handling but also ensure you have a solid system in place for meeting increasing digital security requirements.
Posted By: Sherri Taylor – President/Managing Partner
Sherri Taylor is the Managing Partner and President of Armstrong Archives, one of the largest independent records and information management companies in the Dallas/Ft Worth area.