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It’s back to school season. With students returning to classes and filling the halls of your institution, it’s a good time to do a quick FERPA review. The challenges now facing the Nashville school district provides a good reminder of why FERPA is so important.

To summarize FERPA, student information must be transferred in a secure manner (secure file transfer, fax, postal mail) and cannot be accessible to anyone that is not authorized to view it, which usually means select school staff, the student, and their guardian(s). The risk for schools is in transferring the student information in a secure manner. In the past, this transfer was performed by the US Postal Service, but today expectations are for instantaneous file sharing, like email. Unfortunately, email is not a secure solution, leaving schools relying on old and cumbersome technologies.

This is why Secure File Transfer (SFT) solutions are ideal for the transfer of private student information. They are as simple to use as email but with the security and tracking that support FERPA compliance.

In the case of the Nashville school district, they needed an easy way to share student information but knew that email was insecure and didn’t have a Secure File Transfer solution. To provide the information, they simply gave all of the high-level administrators access to their student information database. Unfortunately, this provided access to private student information that they were not, under FERPA, authorized to view. By not deploying the right solution, the Nashville school district now finds itself in the spotlight for student privacy violations with possible federal lawsuits. If the district had a Secure File Transfer solution to share student information, then they could have restricted access to private student records and not faced lawsuits for violating FERPA rules.

To learn more about FERPA compliance, download our latest ebook Sharing Student Records – An IT Guide to FERPA and File Sharing