Laws protecting student privacy have been in place in the United States since the mid-70s, and new international laws have been enacted recently. Institutions are increasingly concerned about exposing their students' personal information with the recent explosion of electronic data storage and record keeping. Students and their families are aware that their data and records may be vulnerable and their privacy compromised. They are asking questions about how personal data is stored, protected and used. To respond to these questions, institutions are examining and evaluating their policies and processes for protecting student privacy.

Because electronic data and records are easily transferable and can be manipulated and altered, they need to be protected in ways other than locking doors and file cabinets. Serious consequences such as the loss of federal funding and litigation costs can result from not complying with privacy laws.

This section provides:

  • Information about what privacy laws are relevant to Blackboard applications. For information about international laws and user privacy, see Security Management - Data Use and Privacy Disclosure.
  • The specific parts of the system users need to examine to comply with U.S. privacy laws.

This is not a legal document and is not intended to answer legal questions. Direct your legal questions to your institution's legal department or counsel.

Privacy resources

Additional Resources

Many resources are available for learning about privacy regulations and laws, both in the United States and in other countries. An institution's main resource for interpreting and applying laws and regulations is its legal department or retained legal counsel.

  • US Department of Education - This site has general information about FERPA.
  • Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) - This site has a mission to implement two laws that seek to ensure student and parental rights in education: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
  • Association for Student Judicial Affairs - This site represents a professional association that serves the needs of campus judicial officers.
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center - This site represents a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. This is a special page on student privacy issues.