Education Records

USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 Allows Non-consensual Disclosure of Student Data to Assist in Terrorism Investigations. The USA PATRIOT ACT created a new FERPA exception to the general rule that written consent of the student is required to release private educational data to a third party. This provision of the law authorizes a "court of competent jurisdiction" to issue an ex parte order, upon written application of the U.S. Attorney General or other Federal officer or employee "in a position no lower than an Assistant (U.S.) Attorney General," requiring a school to produce education records "relevant to an authorized investigation or prosecution of [a specified crime of terrorism] or an act of domestic or international terrorism."

The FPCO in the Department of Education has issued a "Dear Colleague" letter concerning these issues and it is available online at As with any subpoena or court order, it is important to consult with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office or the Office of General Counsel for assistance in responding, whenever possible.

You may review a PDF version of a Power Point presentation on the student data portion of Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). The content is introductory, not comprehensive.

Introductory Tutorial on Student Data

Advisory Letter on Disclosing Student Data to Parents

Parental Access to Drug/Alcohol Violation Information. The 2008 legislature amended the Education Data section of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act to address the issue of postsecondary institution notice to parents of certain drug or alcohol offenses. See June 19, 2008 Memorandum from Deputy General Counsel, Kristine Kaplan.