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Person Who is Requesting the Data:
The purpose of FERPA is two-fold: to assure that parents and eligible students can access the student’s education records, and to protect their right to privacy by limiting the transferability of their education records without their consent. 120 Cong. Rec. 39862. As such, FERPA is not an open records statute or part of an open records system. The only parties who have a right to obtain access to education records under FERPA are parents and eligible students. Journalists, researchers, and other members of the public have no right under FERPA to gain access to education records for school accountability or other matters of public interest, including misconduct by those running for public office. Nonetheless, as explained in the preamble to the NPRM, 73 FR 15584–15585, we believe that the regulatory standard for defining and removing personally identifiable information from education records establishes an appropriate balance that facilitates school accountability and educational research while preserving the statutory privacy protections in FERPA. The simple removal of nominal or direct identifiers, such as name and SSN (or other ID number), does not necessarily avoid the release of personally identifiable information. Other information, such as address, date and place of birth, race, ethnicity, gender, physical description, disability, activities and accomplishments, disciplinary actions, and so forth, can indirectly identify someone depending on the combination of factors and level of detail released.
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