The Issue of Government Funding
When Congress passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), it specified that its impact was limited to those educational agencies and schools that receive any kind of funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, most private and parochial schools at both the elementary and secondary levels are specifically exempted from FERPA unless they receive such funding.
Because of this exemption from FERPA in private schools, many administrators in those institutions tend to ignore the specifics of the Act relative to student records. However, in light of the significant penalties associated with both FERPA and HIPAA, this attitude is now changing.
FERPA in Private Schools: New Concerns
Current and recent court cases are showing circumstances in which even private and parochial schools may run afoul of FERPA guidelines in an increasing number of situations. For example, if the traditionally exempt school provides off-campus opportunities at non-exempt schools or institutions, there are issues concerning the exchange of information between them, especially for students 18 years old or older.
This and other situations raise additional concerns if information covered by HIPAA is exchanged or exposed. Many private schools are now required by their insurers to show during audits that adequate controls and protections are in place for student records and information. This includes proper disposal of all such records and information. While there is a trend towards automated records, each school still produces many printed copies of sensitive student records and information.
At Sergeant Shredder, we provide shredding services to a number of private schools. Compliance with regulations such as FERPA in private schools is an important and far-reaching issue. We use eco-friendly methods for handling a range of document destruction and disposal needs. Even if your school is not concerned over FERPA compliance, we can help with other secure disposal needs. Many schools need to adhere to other privacy laws such as HIPAA or FACTA where student records have sensitive financial or medical information. We help our clients be safe, secure and green all at the same time.
What questions do you have about FERPA in private schools?