HRPP policies & procedures manual

1102: Department of Education

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the procedures as they apply to human research that is funded by the Department of Education (ED). Research supported by the Department of Education requires compliance with additional federal regulations, directives and instructions.

2. Definitions

FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 34 CFR 99

PPRA – Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 34 CFR 98

Schools that receive funding from the US Department of Education are required to comply with FERPA as well as PPRA.

Under FERPA, schools may not release identified student academic information without authorization for the student (if over 18) or parent/guardian. PPRA requires that consent be obtained for any surveys involving sensitive information and that such surveys be available for review by parents prior to their administration to the student. Investigators are reminded to take these regulations into account with planning research involving schools.


Children are persons enrolled in research not above the elementary or secondary education level, who have not reached the age or majority as determined under state law.

Prior consent

Prior consent of the student, if the student is an adult or emancipated minor or prior written consent of the parent or guardian, if the student is an un-emancipated minor.  Schools and contractors will obtain prior written parental consent before minor students are required or allowed to participate in any ED-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation.

Access to instructional material used in a research or experimentation program

All instructional material—including teachers’ manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary instructional material—which will be used in connection with any research or experimentation program or project must be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children engaged in such research.

Research or experimentation program or project

Research or experimentation program or project is any project in any research that is designed to explore or develop new or unproven teaching methods or techniques.

3. Specific policies


An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record of a student without consent if the disclosure is to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or instructions to:

  • Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests.
  • Administer student aid programs.
  • Improve instruction.

A school district or postsecondary institution that uses this exception is required to enter into a written agreement with the university or researcher conducting the research that specifies:

  • The determination of the exception
  • The purpose, scope, and duration of the study
  • The information to be disclosed
  • That information from educational records may only be used to meet the purposes of the study stated in the written agreement and must contain the current requirements in 34 CFR 99.31 (a)(6) on re-disclosure and destruction of information
  • That the study will be conducted in a manner that does not permit personal identification of parents and student by anyone other than representative of the university with legitimate interests
  • That the university is required to destroy or return all personally identifiable information when no longer needed for the purposes of the study
  • The time period during which the university must either destroy or return the information

Education records may be released without consent under FERPA if all personally identifiable information has been removed including:

  • Student’s name and other direct personal identifiers, such as the student’s social security number or student number
  • Indirect identifiers, such as the name of the student’s parent or their family members; the student’ or family’s address, and personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable; date and place of birth and mother’s maiden name
  • Biometric records, including one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual, including fingerprints, retina and iris patterns, voiceprints, DNA sequence, facial characteristics, and handwriting
  • Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty

3.2 Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)

For research funded by the U.S. Department of Education:

No student shall be required, as part of any research project, to submit without prior consent to surveys, psychiatric examination, testing, or treatment, or to psychological examination, testing, or treatment, in which the primary purpose is to reveal information concerning on or more of the following:

  • Political affiliations
  • Mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student or his or her family
  • Sex behavior and attitudes
  • Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating and demeaning behavior
  • Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom the student has close family relationships
  • Legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with lawyers, physicians, and ministers
  • Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent
  • Income, other than required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under a program

3.3 Research not funded by the U.S. Department of Education

The IRB must verify compliance with U.S. Department of Education regulations that schools are required to develop and adopt policies in conjunction with parents regarding the following:

  • The right of parents to inspect, upon request, a survey created by a third party before the survey is administered or distributed by a school to student
  • Arrangements to protect student privacy in the event of the administration of a survey to students, including the right of parents to inspect, upon request, the survey, if the survey contains one or more of the same eight items of information noted above
  • The right of parents to inspect, upon request, any instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum for students
  • The administration of physical examinations or screens that the school may administer to students

3.4 Requirements of researchers

Researchers are required to follow Department of Education requirements for the protections of personally identifiable information by completing and complying with the requirements of the “Checklist for IRBs to Use in Verifying That HS Research Protocols Are in Compliance with Department of Education Requirements.”

4. Applicable regulations and guidelines

34 CFR 99

34 CFR 98

32 CFR 219

5. Forms


6. Procedures employed to implement this policy & assignment of responsibility

ORA director,
chairpersons of IRBs, IRB members, IRB
coordinator, and institutional official
Ensure compliance with federal regulations, policy and procedures to guarantee the protection of human subjects participating in research.
Institutional official and ORA director Evaluate on an ongoing basis the HRPP program for adherence and compliance with federal, state, and local policy and regulations.