Abstract: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that universities receiving federal funds through the U.S. Department of Education maintain baseline student privacy protections. Simultaneously, state open records laws require public universities, as state actors, to disclose certain types of information upon a request from the public. When both statutes apply to requested information, courts have reached opposite results as to the universities’ obligations. Some have concluded that the records must remain private because of FERPA. Others have concluded that the state open records law requires disclosure regardless, because FERPA is merely a funding condition and not a federal prohibition. This Note proposes a framework for more uniformly resolving the relationship between FERPA and state open records laws. It argues that FERPA is a valid federal conditional funding statute under the current unconstitutional conditions doctrine. As a result, the Supremacy Clause must dictate the outcome when FERPA and a state open records law conflict. Therefore, when a state open records law would require disclosure of information protected by FERPA, FERPA must trump the contradictory state law requirements as a binding federal law.
2015-2016 Board of Editors
We are pleased to announce the Board of Editors for the 2015-2015 academic year.
BCLR Latest Issue: Vol. LVI No. 3
The Boston College Law Review is pleased to announce our latest publication , the May 2015 issue. The current issue is featured on […]
BCLR Releases Vol. LV No. 3
The Boston College Law Review is pleased to publish the May 2014 issue. Here are summaries of this issue’s Articles and Notes: […]