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Management Bulletin AEFLA 2017-01

This bulletin provides guidance about collecting social security numbers and obtaining written consent to share information for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation while protecting and safeguarding personal information
Adult Education Office
Career and College Transition Division

Subject: Guidance about collecting social security numbers and obtaining informed consent for the WIOA, Title II: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) Grantees

Number: AEFLA 2017-01

Authority:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

20 United States Code Section 1232g FERPA Regulations – 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 99

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment – 20 U.S.C. § 1232h

California Public Records Act – California Government Code §§ 6250 – 6270

California Information Practices Act – California Civil Code §§ 1798-1798.1

Date: June 30, 2017


Attention

Superintendents and Administrators, WIOA, Title II: AEFLA Grantees

Purpose

This Management Bulletin provides guidance about collecting social security numbers and obtaining written consent to share information for the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA implementation, while protecting and safeguarding personal information contained in education records of the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA learners.

Background

The WIOA (Public Law No. 113–128 External link opens in new window or tab. [PDF]) signed by President Obama in 2014, is designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce by helping to get Americans into high-quality jobs and careers. After the enactment of the WIOA, the California legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 2148, codified in section 14013(i) (2) of the California Unemployment Insurance Code, which authorizes the California Department of Education (CDE) to collect, on a voluntary basis, the social security numbers of adults participating in adult education programs so that accurate participation in those programs can be represented in reports. The statute further provides that an individual shall not be denied program participation if he or she refuses to provide a social security number. The law also authorizes the CDE to share the information collected, unless prohibited by federal law, with the Labor Market Information Division (LMID) within the Employment Development Department (EDD), who shall keep the information confidential and use it only to track the labor market outcomes of program participants in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and mandates, including all performance reporting requirements under the WIOA.

The FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR), Part 99 is a federal law that protects the privacy of personal information in student education records. The law applies to all education organizations that receive funds under an applicable program of the United States Department of Education. Providing the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA services in California entails program staff obtaining personal information or records from individuals applying for or receiving the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA services. Any personal information contained in these education records is protected under the FERPA. The FERPA generally requires an adult student’s written consent for disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in education records, unless a specific exception applies. The CDE requests that any organization providing the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA services to adults in California ask for the voluntary participation in the provision of social security numbers and the execution of a voluntary written consent allowing the CDE to share participant data in a standardized format with the EDD, all as contemplated by section 14013(i) (2) of the California Unemployment Insurance Code.

Consent is voluntary. Learners in the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA program have a right to withhold their social security number and to withhold consent to the sharing of their personal information, should they choose to do so, without suffering any adverse consequence i.e., denial of service.

Requirements

Pursuant to Unemployment Insurance Code Section 14013, the CDE requests that the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA service providers ask individuals applying for or receiving services to voluntarily provide their social security number and written consent to the disclosure of their personal information by the CDE to the EDD using the “Voluntary Authorization to Share Personally Identifiable Information and Records Form” (the form is available on the CDE Adult Education Resources Web page) provided, however, that no individual may be required to do so in order to participate in or receive any adult education program service:

  • The consent will allow the individual’s information to be shared only with the EDD;
  • The EDD shall use the confidential information only to track the labor market outcomes of program participants in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and mandates, including all performance reporting requirements under the WIOA.
  • After aggregating the participant data contained in the response file and meeting statutory reporting requirements, the EDD shall destroy the response file containing participant data.
The decision to participate is voluntary and a decision to decline to participate will not affect any individual’s eligibility to receive or participate in adult education services.
Mandatory Requirements

All adult education providers are asked to adhere to the following procedures:

  • Offer, but do not require, each individual applying for or receiving the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA services the opportunity to read, sign and date the “Voluntary Authorization to Share Personally Identifiable Information and Records” form (copy attached).
  • Inform each individual applying for or receiving the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA services of their right to decline (i.e., not to share) their personal information and records and that declining does not affect their enrollment or eligibility for the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA services.
  • Keep completed Voluntary Authorization to Share Personally Identifiable Information and Records forms confidential in a secure location. This form should be made available to the CDE upon request for audit and evaluation purposes.
  • Prohibit staff from electronically sending information containing consent forms or other personal information and records, unless the email is securely encrypted.
  • Prohibit staff from leaving completed Voluntary Authorization to Share Personally Identifiable Information and Records forms lying out in the open or unattended.
  • Store completed Voluntary Authorization to Share Personally Identifiable Information and Records forms in a secure location when not in use or shredded if no longer necessary.
  • Personal and confidential information or records should not be tossed in the regular trash or recycle bins.
Additional Information Summarizing FERPA

Unless a FERPA exception applies, whether written or oral and regardless of format, staff must maintain confidentiality of files, documents, and other materials which— (i) contain information directly related to a student; and (ii) are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution such as:

  • The student's name
  • The name of the student's parent or other family members
  • The address of the student or student's family
  • A personal identifier, such as the student's social security number, student number, or biometric record
  • Other indirect identifiers, such as the student's date of birth, place of birth, and mother's maiden name
  • Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty
  • Information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates

The misuse or unauthorized release of personal and confidential information or records by any the WIOA, Title II: AEFLA service provider may be subject to a civil penalty. Such as withholding of further payments under any applicable program, issuance of a complaint to compel compliance through a cease and desist order; or termination of eligibility to receive funding under any applicable program or other applicable sanctions under state and federal law (34 CFR Part 99.67).

Generally, schools must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, the FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, in cases such as the following, provided the disclosure meets the detailed requirements in the 34 CFR Part 99.31:

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest
  • Officials of other schools to which a student is transferring
  • The authorized representatives of specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with certain financial aid determinations or enforcements with respect to that student
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Accrediting organizations to carry out accrediting functions
  • As required to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; provided, that reasonable efforts are made to notify the eligible student
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law
Inquiries

If you have questions regarding this subject, please contact the Adult Education Office, Career and College Transition Division, by phone at 916-322-2175.

Questions:   Adult Education Office | 916-322-2175
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 14, 2017