FERPA permits educational institutions to disclose personally identifiable information from education records without parental or student consent to "organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests." (20 U.S.C.A. § 1232g(b)(1)(F); see 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(6)(i)(A).)
The legislative history of this provision recognizes that organizations such as the College Board need student data in order to validate tests that institutions of higher education use to predict the potential success of their applicants. The Joint Statement in Explanation of Buckley/Pell Amendment, 120 Cong. Rec. 39862, 39863 (Dec. 13, 1974), states: "Organizations such as the College Entrance Examination Board . . . develop and validate a number of tests which are used by institutions of higher education to predict the potential success of applicants for admission. These and other similar groups need student data in order to perform their function."
The organization must conduct the study in a manner that does not permit personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of the organization, and the organization must destroy the data when no longer needed for the purposes for which the study was conducted. 20 U.S.C.A. § 1232g(b)(1)(F); see 34 C.F.R. 99.31(a)(6)(ii). See generally Letter from L. Rooker (U.S. Department of Education) to A. Foerster, Pennsylvania Department of Education (Feb. 25, 2004) and Letter from L. Rooker (U.S. Department of Education) to A. Lloyd-Jones, California Department of Education (Feb. 18, 2004).