Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

About FOIA | About the Privacy Act | FOIA Library
Making a Request | FAQs | Contacts | Links

Making a Request

Do you want to request information about the U.S. Department of Education?

This is a request that should be made under FOIA. You may be able to access the information you need on the Internet without making a FOIA request. Before making a FOIA request, you should browse our FOIA Library and search the ED.gov website.

Do you want to request information about yourself?

This is a request that should be made under the Privacy Act. Privacy Act requests can be made only by U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent U.S. residence who are seeking information about themselves in a system of records maintained under their names or other personal identifiers.

Which Act should I use?

The access provisions of the FOIA and the Privacy Act overlap in part. The two laws have different procedures and different exemptions. As a result, sometimes information exempt under one law will be releasable under the other.

In order to take maximum advantage of the laws, individuals seeking information should ordinarily cite both laws. Requests by an individual for information that does not relate solely to him or herself should be made only under the FOIA.

ED will automatically handle requests from individuals in a way that will maximize the amount of information that is releasable. However, a requester should still make a request in a manner that is most advantageous and that fully protects all available legal rights. A requester who has any doubts about which law to use should always cite both the FOIA and the Privacy Act when seeking documents.

Learn about FOIA Fee Regulations

Last Modified: 09/10/2015