On August 18, the United States Department of Education (ED) issued a draft ‘Dear Colleague Letter’ to campus officials to clarify campus responsibilities with education and medical records in cases where litigation occurs between the institution and the student. ED provided a background of FERPA and clarified that medical records are generally considered protected education records under the law. ED also suggested that institutions determine the appropriateness of disclosing student medical and counseling records by applying privacy and disclosure principles developed under HIPAA.
In a blog post that accompanied the release of the draft letter, ED requested feedback from the higher education community on any unintended consequences of this guidance on protecting student medical and counseling records. The US Department of Education has requested that comments be submitted by email to [email protected] no later than October 2.