SPLC Asks Seventh Circuit to Uphold FERPA Decision

By August 23, 2011

Last Friday, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief (.PDF) with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, asking it to uphold a federal district court’s decision in a FERPA ruling against the University of Illinois.

That ruling, part of an ongoing legal battle between the Chicago Tribune and the University of Illinois over a recent college admissions scandal, held that because colleges can choose to reject federal aid, they are not "prohibited" from releasing records under an Illinois FOIA exemption.

In its brief, the SPLC urges the Seventh Circuit to strike down the common practice of colleges deeming anything mentioning a student an "educational record" and thus exempt from disclosure. Rather, the SPLC argues, FERPA should be more narrowly interpreted to cover only materials that are both confidential and directly related to a student’s academic and educational life.

We’ll have updates on further developments in this case here on The Torch.