Laws & Guidance GENERAL
Systems of Records Notices

Department of Education Privacy Act Issuances

The U.S. Department of Education safeguards personal privacy in its collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of records about individuals and makes such information available to the individual in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. §552a).

A "record," as defined by the Act, is information about an individual maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, the individual's education, financial transactions, or employment history, and that contains the individual's identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. The Act defines "system of records" as any group of records under the Department's control from which information is retrieved by a personal identifier such as a person’s name or Social Security number.

All Federal agencies are required to publish in the Federal Register each system of records when the system is established or changed. These notices include the following:

  • Name and location of the system;
  • Categories of individuals on whom records are maintained in the system;
  • Categories of records maintained in the system;
  • Each routine use of the records contained in the system, including categories of users and purpose of such use;
  • Policies and practices of the agency regarding storage, retrievability, access controls, retention, and disposal of the records;
  • Title and business address of the agency official responsible for the system of records;
  • Agency procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his or her request if the system of records contains a record pertaining to him or her;
  • Agency procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his or her request how he or she can gain access to any record pertaining to him or her contained in the system of records, and how he or she can contest its contents; and
  • Categories of sources of records in the system.

“The Department maintains a compilation of system of record notices (SORNs), which can be found here.”

Last Modified: 06/28/2018