On January 14, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (“USA”) which amended the confidentiality provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  The USA also incidentally affects the confidentiality provisions of Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.   The U.S. Department of Education has not yet amended the FERPA regulations to incorporate the provisions of the USA.  However, on May 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office (“FPCO”), issued Guidance on the Amendments to the Family Rights and Privacy Act by the Uninterrupted Scholars Act

 The guidance document, which is in a question and answer format, represents the Department’s current interpretation of the statutory changes made to FERPA by the USA.  The guidance document also addresses how the USA amendment to FERPA affects the confidentiality provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).  The guidance document is divided into four sections.  The first section explains how the USA amends FERPA and its interplay with other FERPA requirements.  The second section addresses re-disclosure by a SEA on behalf of its local districts of the education records of students in foster care placement to child welfare agencies.  The third section provides direction regarding the impact of the USA on the IDEA, specifically the confidentiality provisions in Part B and Part C respectively.  The final section includes several scenarios related to implementation of the USA.  

 A copy of the FPCO Guidance Document can be found in the “Legal References” – Guidance Documents – Federal section of this website or by visiting the Family Policy Compliance Office Website.  

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