PII Redaction: How FERPA Compliance Relates to PII Redaction and Why it is Important

Within the data protection profession, when it comes to PII redaction (Personally Identifiable Information), we hold to a few key pillars that ensure client information is kept secure and private. Some such conventions are the widely known HIPAA, GLBA, and FERPA compliance standards that dominate many private information-rich sectors, including education, law, and medicine. If you are looking into Redaction for the family or guardians of a student, you may be highly concerned about FERPA compliance and how redaction incorporates FERPA standards into its practices. Read on to learn more about what FERPA is, what it means to be FERPA compliant, and why it is important to redact.


What is FERPA?


FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law that applies to protecting children’s privacy and the education records of students. FERPA protects the privacy of students and grants access and certain rights to education records to legal parents and guardians of a student. These rights transfer to “eligible students”: students who have turned 18 or are attending a school beyond the high school level.


What does it mean to be FERPA compliant?


Ensuring FERPA compliance is vital to maintaining the educational privacy of K12 students. Some of the key components of managing FERPA compliance include granting students, parents, and guardians access to educational records, making educational records available within a certain period of time upon request, maintaining the privacy of any other students mentioned in disclosed educational records, and not disclosing educational information to a third party unless written consent by the parents or student is provided.


Some common FERPA violations happen when student educational information is emailed to the entire class or grades are posted alongside student identifying information.


How does FERPA compliance relate to PII Redaction?


PII redaction becomes important to FERPA compliance in several cases. One such case is when educational records are requested and another student’s educational or identifying information must be removed from the documents. In such cases, the student or parents are within their rights to view requested educational records and the responsibility of redaction falls entirely on the educational institution. In other instances, educational records may be court-ordered and certain information must be redacted from the relevant documents. When copies of records are requested, personally identifiable information of other students and other protected data must be redacted from those documents as well.


For this reason, those entrusted with the redaction of student records must be well-versed in FERPA compliance.


How can you ensure proper FERPA compliance with PII redaction of student records?


In many cases, responsibility for the appropriate redaction of education records falls on the educational institution. With the constant flow of student information coming into and being requested from education offices, it can be difficult to keep up with the demands of FERPA-compliant PII redaction.


One solution to this demand is outsourcing the redaction work to a trusted third-party firm. Hill Redaction Services is a PII redaction firm that is skilled and experienced in the redaction of educational, legal, medical, and other information-sensitive documents.


Hiring an outside firm like Hill Redaction Services helps to resolve issues created by the over-demand of redaction needs in offices. If your institution is in need of assistance in PII redaction, it’s worth your time to look into Hill Redaction Services.