About this Issue
Student records have become digitized and more technological tools are added to college campuses every day. At the same time, higher education institutions are expanding their use of “Big Data” technology. The use of statistical analysis to gain insights into complex issues faced by colleges and universities allows these institutions to explore new ways to support their students, manage their administration, and evaluate their programs. However, as education increasingly utilizes and is shaped by technology, privacy challenges can arise.
FPF believes that there are critical improvements to learning that are enabled by data and technology, and that the use of data and technology is not antithetical to protecting student privacy. In order to facilitate this balance, FPF equips and connects advocates, industry, policymakers, and practitioners with substantive practices, policies, and other solutions to address education privacy challenges
• FERPA|SHERPA: FERPA|Sherpa: The Education Privacy Resource Center is a website that helps all education privacy stakeholders learn the basics, keep informed about the latest news, laws, and resources, and better communicate how to ensure education privacy while allowing for the good use of data and technology in education. It includes specific resource pages for K-12 officials, higher ed officials, parents, students, industry, and policymakers.
• Working Groups: FPF runs a higher education privacy working group to explore privacy concerns related to predictive analytics, big data, ethics, and data infrastructure in higher education. This group includes ed tech companies, education data advocates, academics, and practitioners.
• Guidance to Postsecondary Advocates and Institutions: FPF provides advice, resources, and technical assistance on privacy challenges faced by higher education data advocates and postsecondary institutions. FPF works closely with the Postsecondary Data Collaborative, a coalition formed by the Institute of Higher Education Policy of 40 organizations advocating for high-quality postsecondary data to improve student outcomes.
• Privacy Newsletter: FPF’s newsletter provides updates on current events, state and federal legislation, and new resources for subscribers.
• Tracking State and Federal Legislation: FPF tracks, analyzes, and, as needed, provides comments on state and federal student privacy legislation. FPF members have access to our state legislation tracking sheet for each legislative year.
• Student Privacy Bootcamps: FPF runs student privacy bootcamps through the U.S. for small and startup ed tech companies to provide training on US privacy laws, best practices, and advocates’ concerns.
• 19 Times Data Analysis Empowered Students and Schools is FPF’s report demonstrating the power of data. The report shows schools, districts, parents, and students current trends and outcomes and inspires ways to make those outcomes better.
• Student Data and De-Identification: Understanding DeIdentification of Education Records and Related Requirements of FERPA provides an overview of tools that can be used to de-identify data to various degrees, based on the type of information involved, and the relative risks of the re-identification of individuals and the unintended disclosure of personal data.
Working Group Meetings
Higher Education Working Group meetings are generally held Fridays from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET. FPF members are welcome to join these discussions. If you would like call-in information (or to be added to the working group), please contact Amelia Vance at [email protected]. Are you a member of the Working Group? You can access past Working Group notes and resources here.
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Want to learn more, join our newsletter or a working group, or become an FPF member? Contact Education Policy Counsel Amelia Vance at [email protected].