Department of Education Clarifies Obligations of Schools When Contracting With Online Service Providers

The Department of Education recently ramped up the pressure on school districts, schools, and higher education institutions to reform their procedures for student data outsourcing, releasing a 14-page guidance document on 25 February that reinforces the obligation to comply with privacy laws when using a service provider to host or process student data. By issuing the guidance, the department has put entities covered by student privacy laws on notice of its expectations regarding their responsibilities when entering into these arrangements. Service providers who store and process student data on behalf of school districts and schools should therefore carefully consider the guidance and how it may affect the market for their services and the contractual demands from their education customers.

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