Can Financial Aid Administrators Take Student Files Home If We Are Working Remotely?

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Yes. According to guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Student Privacy Policy Office, during its March 30, 2020 FERPA and Virtual Learning During COVID-19 webinar:

It is NASFAA's understanding that this also applies to financial aid administrators who are working remotely.

Under 34 CFR 99.31(a)(1), an educational agency or institution may disclose PII from an education record of a student without the consent required by section 99.30 if the disclosure is to other school officials, including teachers, within the agency or institution whom the agency or institution has determined to have legitimate educational interests. The school alone defines "legitimate educational interest" (not NASFAA nor ED).

Per ED's webinar, here are the questions schools should consider when deciding legitimate educational interest for taking home student files for work.

Reference the webinar recording and view the webinar slide deck. Questions can go to FERPA@ed.gov or 1-855-249-3072.

AskRegs Q&As represent NASFAA's understanding of regulatory and compliance issues. They are FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. While NASFAA believes AskRegs Q&As are accurate and factual, they have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you should need written confirmation of AskRegs information for audit or program review purposes, please contact your ED School Participation Division. NASFAA shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein; nor for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.