Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

 Email  Share  Print

ACE Files Amicus Brief in University of Illinois FERPA Case

July 21, 2011

 

ACE, on behalf of nine other higher education associations, yesterday filed an amicus brief to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the University of Illinois’s effort to keep information about student applicants private.

The case, Chicago Tribune Company vs. University of Illinois Board of Trustees, is part of the ongoing dispute over student records stemming from The Chicago Tribune’s 2009 series of articles, “Clout Goes to College.” The series looked into a list of applicants kept by the university which included the relatives of certain influential individuals.

The Chicago Tribune Company submitted a request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act seeking to inspect the records of these applicants, but the university denied the request based on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student records at institutions receiving federal funds. However, a district court judge ruled that FERPA does not actually prohibit the release of the student records because the school has the option of rejecting all federal funding in order not to be bound by the law.

The university is appealing that ruling.

“The district court’s decision could require public colleges and universities to release student grades, test scores, financial information and copies of tax returns filed as part of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), documentation of a disability submitted by students seeking accommodations, even application essays that may contain intensely personal information about a student’s family issues or past problems,” said ACE General Counsel Ada Meloy in a statement yesterday.

“The district court’s decision also would deprive institutions of vital federal funding that opens their doors to students who otherwise do not have the means to attend one of the nation’s colleges or universities. The ‘choice’ the court presents—institutions can say no to more than $193 billion in federal funding in order to release personal information about their students—is no choice at all.”

The U.S. Department of Justice also filed an amicus brief in support of the University of Illinois. To see that brief along with other information on the case, see the university’s website.

 

Other ACE News

  • July 28, 2016

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    NPR interviews author and higher education finance expert Sandy Baum, who makes the case that the student loan crisis is overblown and says the focus should be on the small percentage of borrowers who are really struggling. Inside Higher Ed reports...

  • Diversity in Leadership

    July 27, 2016

    ACPS 2016-17

    American College President Study: ACE Needs Your Expertise

    The survey is the oldest, most comprehensive and in-depth source of information about the college presidency and the leadership pipeline in higher education. Make sure your institution's president is included.

  • Innovative Practices

    July 27, 2016

    Deconstructing CBE

    Competency-Based Education: Rising Interest, Gradual Implementation

    A survey of leaders at 251 colleges and universities active or interested in competency-based education reveals that even while interest in CBE is rising, implementation of CBE courses and programs remain gradual.

  • Institutional Effectiveness

    July 25, 2016

    People walking

    ACE Blog Series on Data Offers Campus Leaders Ideas to Spur Institutional Change

    ​A recent three-part blog series on ACE’s Higher Education Today blog looks at financial data issues in higher education and offers insights for leaders looking to improve the way they use data in everyday decision-making.

  • Higher Education Act

    July 25, 2016

    White House

    Department of Education Proposes Rules on Oversight of Online Courses

    ​The Department of Education today published proposed regulations on state authorization requirements for postsecondary distance education, outlining how colleges and universities that offer online education programs to students in other states...