2020 Census and Student Privacy Guidance

February 18, 2020

Quick Take | 2-3 PM ET

Ahead of each Census, the U.S. Education Department provides information to colleges and universities on the applicability of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from student education record to representatives of the U.S. Census Bureau. The department issued an updated letter on January 29, 2020, regarding demographic information campus officials may share with Census Bureau representatives.

The January 14, 2020 letter stated that school officials, if asked, may not disclose information about a student’s gender, Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, and race, without prior written consent from the student as part of directory information. The updated January 29, 2020 letter included that same information and also provided information regarding aggregate institution-level enrollment data disaggregated by gender and race/ethnicity if that data is de-identified in response to some questions.

AACRAO will host a joint call with the U.S. Census Bureau representatives and Kala Shah Surprenant, acting director of the Education Department’s Student Privacy Policy Office, on Tuesday, February 18 at 2:30 p.m. (ET) to discuss the updated guidance and answer any additional questions universities may have regarding the 2020 Census and what information they should make available.