Ask the FERPA Professors

April 15, 2024
  • FERPA Professor
  • FERPATop

Dear FERPA Professor,

I hope all is well by you. I am hoping you can help us with a question we have. Does a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit have limits under FERPA or does the GAO trump FERPA? Thank you for any insight you can provide. Your help is always appreciated.

Ms. Gard

Dear Ms. Gard,

Concerning your question, § 99.31(a)(3)(i) of the FERPA regulations permits disclosures to the “The Comptroller General of the United States,” subject to the requirements of § 99.35.  Because the Government Accounting Office (GAO) is part of the Comptroller General's office, institutions can use this exception to disclose to them so long as the disclosure is for audit or evaluation purposes as required in § 99.35.

I hope this is helpful in answering your questions.  You can find the above cited language on pages 160 and 165 of the  2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

The FERPA Professor

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