About ED OFFICES
Archived Information: US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Management
Archived Information


Office of the Chief Privacy Officer

The Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO) provides leadership, oversight, and coordination to ensure Departmental compliance with Federal laws governing the acquisition, release and maintenance of information. The office is responsible for implementation of the following statutes, among others:

  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA);
  • Privacy Act (including privacy safeguards);
  • Federal Records Act (records management and retention);
  • Paperwork Reduction Act (information collection clearances)
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); and
  • The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).

The office is responsible for providing policies, standards, and procedures that ensure ED complies with governmental information management requirements in the above areas. In addition, the office provides guidance and instruction to assure that customers are supported in the performance of these efforts.

The office is headed by the Department’s Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), who serves as a champion for privacy awareness and education across the agency. The Deputy CPO reports to the CPO. Some of the teams and divisions report to the CPO, and others report to the Deputy CPO:

The office is headed by the Department’s Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), who serves as a champion for privacy awareness and education across the agency. The Deputy CPO reports to the CPO. Some of the teams and divisions report to the CPO, and others report to the Deputy CPO:

Front Office

The Office of the Director provides oversight, direction, and guidance to OCPO staff. This office prepares and manages the CPO budget and serves as the liaison with the OM Executive Office.

FOIA Service Center

The FOIA Service Center (Center) is responsible for ensuring agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including the following:

  • Operates the agency’s case management system that responds to FOIA requests;  
  • Advises the public and ED employees regarding FOIA requests., by ensuring the prompt, courteous, efficient and successful handling of all FOIA and Privacy Act requests received by the Department;
  • Serves as the primary office for requestors to obtain information about the status of a FOIA request, and the agency’s response;
  • Oversees agency compliance with FOIA management policies and operating procedures;
  • Provides guidance and instruction to Department staff for the appropriate receipt, handling, and recording of FOIA and Privacy Act requests;
  • Develops and provides print and web-based training to Department employees and contractors regarding FOIA;
  • Furnishes reliable, accurate, and timely information on FOIA compliance as required by relevant laws, statutes, regulations and directives, including mandated reports on the status of ED's FOIA operations; and
  • Coordinates disposition of all Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeals received by the Department.

The Director of the Center appoints the FOIA Public Liaison.

Privacy Safeguards Team

The Privacy Safeguards Team is responsible for the Department’s management of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including the following:

  • Serves as the Department’s primary liaison with OMB and other agencies on inter-agency privacy safeguards, compliance, and breach notification initiatives.
  • Provides guidance and instruction to Department staff regarding processes and procedures regarding the protection of personally identifiable information, including Privacy Act Systems of Records Notices (SORNs) and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs);
  • Develops and provides print and web-based training to Department employees and contractors regarding the unit's mission;
  • Oversees the implementation and management of Department-wide systems and databases that support the successful and efficient handling privacy safeguards administration;
  • Coordinates inter-agency development, review and approval of Computer Matching Agreements (CMAs) in support of the Department’s Data Integrity Board; and
  • Provides guidance and instruction to Department staff regarding processes and procedures regarding the protection of personally identifiable information, including Privacy Act SORNs and PIAs.

Information Collection Clearance Division

The Information Collection Clearance Division is responsible for ensuring agency compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, including the following:

  • Oversees agency compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, OMB guidance and directives and internal ED policies.
  • Analyzes proposed information collections packages to ensure minimum response burden and cost on the public;
  • Serves as the Department’s primary liaison with OMB in the analysis and clearance of information collections to assure compliance with internal policies and OMB guidance and directives;
  • Develops clear and consistent business rules to expedite information collection clearance activities across the Department;
  • Provides guidance to Department staff to respond to OMB requirements and promotes opportunities, including partnerships, to reduce burden;
  • Provides instruction to Department staff to ensure up-to-date communication on Paperwork Reduction Act guidelines and directives. Promotes the use of streamlined information collection clearance methods and enterprise-wide systems;
  • Develops and provides print and web-based training to Department employees and contractors regarding the unit's mission;
  • Furnishes reliable, accurate, and timely information on past, current and pending collections, principally to Principal Offices and OMB; and
  • Oversees the implementation and management of Department-wide systems and databases that support the successful and efficient handling of information collection clearance requests.

Records and Document Management Division

The Records and Documents Management Division is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and programs designed to ensure compliance with federal information management requirements, including the following:

  • Serves as the Department’s principal authority and representative on records management statutory, regulatory and policy requirements to assure compliance with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)  and OMB directives relating to records management;
  • Develops clear and consistent business rules (standards) for records management; administrative safeguards for protecting personally identifiable information; and risk-based information breach notification actions;
  • Provides guidance and instruction to Department staff for the appropriate handling, maintenance, and disposition of records;
  • Develops and provides print and web-based training to Department employees and contractors regarding the unit's mission;
  • Oversees the implementation and management of Department-wide systems and databases that support the successful and efficient handling of records administration; and
  • Provides direction and oversight to the Department’s Administrative Communications System.

Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO)

FPCO’s mission is to enforce federal laws related to student privacy and parental rights: FERPA, PPRA and the Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students and Student Recruiting Information provisions including the following:

  • Investigates, processes and reviews complaints alleging violations of FERPA, negotiates solutions and, when warranted, initiates enforcement actions;
  • Investigates, processes and reviews complaints alleging violations of PPRA, negotiates solutions and, when warranted, initiates enforcement actions;
  • Enforces the requirements under Section 8528 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, which in part requires the disclosure of directory-type information (students' names, addresses, and telephone listings) to military recruiters upon request and provided that the parents of the students have not opted out of such a disclosure;
  • Provides technical assistance on matters relating to compliance with the above statutes;
  • Sets enforcement priorities, relying on data and information, as well as anticipating trends in the education community;  
  • Conducts self-initiated investigations, where warranted, based on incoming information or in accord with  enforcement priorities; 
  • Responds to phone calls about existing complaints, and assists those seeking to file complaints.
  • Signs outgoing findings letters relating to complaints; 
  • Maintains relationships with educational agencies and institutions subject to the above statutes to promote two-way communication about enforcement matters; and
  • Uses and maintains a case tracking system for complaints and any resulting investigative or enforcement actions.

Student Privacy Policy and Assistance Division (SPPAD)

SPPAD’s mission is to provide technical assistance to educational agencies and institutions, as well as providers, parents and students, on issues related to statutory and regulatory compliance, as well as best practices, including training and outreach.  Answers long standing and emerging and policy issues relating to statutory and regulatory compliance, as well as best practices; supports the agency’s own data management efforts.  Activities include the following:

  • Advises and makes recommendations to the CPO and agency leadership on policy issues relating to statutory and regulatory compliance and privacy best practices;
  • Works with the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs to provide technical assistance to the Hill on matters relating to privacy best practices and statutory and regulatory compliance.  Takes the lead on FERPA regulatory matters;
  • Coordinates technical assistance on student privacy, including both best practices and compliance;
  • Manages and implements duties relating to data management at the Department, including supporting the CPO’s role as co-chair of the Data Strategy Team; chairs the Disclosure Review Board;
  • Answers incoming phone calls, emails, and inquiries relating to privacy best practices, FERPA, PPRA and the Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students and Student Recruiting Information provisions, referring those relating to an existing or proposed complaint to FPCO;
  • Uses and maintains a case tracking system for technical assistance; 
  • Creates and maintains the Department’s external web resources related to privacy best practices, FERPA, PPRA and the Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students and Student Recruiting Information provisions; and 
  • In accordance with the PPRA, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232h(c)(5)(C), prepares annual notification for State and local educational agencies of their obligations under FERPA and PPRA and coordinates training on these topics generally.

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Last Modified: 04/12/2019