Ask The FERPA Professor

December 27, 2021
  • Compliance and Reporting
  • AM22 Niche Populations
  • FERPA Professor
  • Niche Populations
  • solomon amendment
cartoon figure reminiscent of Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard with the board "FERPA" written on it

By Michelle Mott, Associate Director of Government Relations and Communications at AACRAO.

This year, Congress updated what student information military recruiters are entitled to under the Solomon Amendment, prompting some confusion among institutions and recruiters, alike. 

What changed? 

Legislation, effective January 1, 2021, added institutional email addresses—or, more specifically, "electronic mail addresses (which shall be the electronic mail addresses provided by the institution, if available)"—to the list of student recruiting information under the Solomon Amendment. Therefore, if your college or university provides students with institutional email addresses, then those must now be included in your lists to military recruiters.

What’s required?

The Solomon Amendment requires institutions receiving certain federal agency funding to fulfill military recruitment requests for access to campus and for lists containing student recruiting information. Recruiters may receive student names, addresses, telephone listings, date and place of birth, levels of education, academic majors, degrees received, the most recent educational institution enrolled in by the student, and now, institutional email addresses.

However, institutions are not required to collect all of the student recruiting data elements. So, if your campus does not maintain this information, it must notify the recruiter of this in writing when replying to their request, and also provide those data points which the institution does collect.  

What about FERPA?

The Solomon Amendment provides branches of the military access to certain student information which would have been denied them under FERPA. Additionally, military recruiters are entitled to student recruiting information even if your institution has not designated it as directory information under FERPA. In other words, Solomon information is, or can be, broader than what you may have designated as directory information under FERPA.

Registrars should note that most military recruiters are trained by “career recruiters” and are not all well versed in the Solomon Amendment. Therefore, recruiters may accidentally request information they are not entitled to receive. However, if institutions release more information about students than either Solomon or FERPA allow, they run the risk of being held liable for the offense.

Learn more about Solomon Amendment compliance or test your knowledge in AACRAO’s mini-series of courses in the Compliance Corner.


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