can now be considered another school official with whom
student record information may be shared.
Before it shares that otherwise confidential information,
however, the school must ensure that the contractor performs
services for which the school would otherwise use employees;
is under the school’s direct control when it comes to handling
student records; and is subject to other requirements regarding
the handling of those records.
“…[DOE] will not sub-
stitute its judgment for
that of the educational
agency or institution in
evaluating the circum-
stances and making its
With this change, the FERPA regulations expand the cast
of characters to whom information from student records may
be disclosed without a student’s prior consent. “Other school
officials” now can include persons and companies who work
for the school under contract. Each institution’s contract
officers should therefore ensure that their written agreements
with these contractors now include language compelling each
contractor’s compliance with FERPA.
Need to Know. Many institutional student information
systems afford employees broad access to student records. No
doubt in many instances, those college and university employees have the opportunity to see more information about
students than their duties require.
Now schools have an affirmative duty to take reasonable
steps to ensure that employees “obtain access to only those
education records in which they have legitimate educational
interests.” If the systems cannot be configured to limit that
access, the school must impose policies that effectively instruct
employees to look only at information they specifically need.
Implementing the new changes to the FERPA regulations
should require only a few hours of staff time. No financial
exigency is created, no programs need be slashed, and no
employee positions need be eliminated. Indeed, that is good
news in today’s uncertain economy. LE
For more information on the latest FERPA changes, visit the
SSAO-only section of the NASPA website at
Peter Kushibab is general counsel for Maricopa Community Colleges
Authoring Your Life
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