The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, was enacted in 1966 and generally provides that:
- Any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information.
- All agencies of the U.S. Government are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them.
- There are nine exemptions to the FOIA that protect certain records from disclosure.
The federal FOIA does not provide access to records held by state or local government agencies, or by private businesses or individuals. Most states, and some local jurisdictions have their own laws about access to state and local records. State Education agencies should be contacted for further information about these statutes.
Consult the Making a Request link if you plan to make a FOIA request to the U.S. Department of Education. 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 Reading Room and search the ED.gov website. Both contain many documents that are available to the public.