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Resources :: Guide :: Research in an educational setting :: State and federal law :: FERPA and PPRA



The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Virginia State Code 22.1-287 place limitations on access to student educational records.  Researchers, who would not normally have reason or permission to access a student’s educational record, may not access that student’s educational record without prior parental permission.  Under certain circumstances, the researcher may request that the school provide de-identified data from student educational records as long as students cannot be identified or deduced from the data set.  In this case, the data are linked and stripped of identifying information by a third party who has normal access to the data (such as a school administrator).  Such data sets qualify for exemption under CFR 45 part 46.101.b(4). For more information, please see UVa's University Registrar's FERPA website.


The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) affords parents certain rights regarding conduct of surveys, analysis, or evaluations.  Parental notification or permission is required when the topics include personal information about political beliefs, psychological problems, sexual behaviors or attitudes, illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior, religious practices, and information about personal relationships.  At a minimum, parents must be notified and be given the opportunity to opt their child out of the activity.

PPRA also requires parental notification and the opportunity to opt their child out of any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the student.  There is an exception for State mandated exams.

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