Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Important FOIA Notice

Due to an internet operational incident which occurred on or about July 4, 2009, the Department may not have received FOIA, and Privacy Act requests, and FOIA appeals submitted on this website between July 4 and July 27, 2009.

The Department identified and resolved the problem with the on-line request website and resumed normal operations on July 27, 2009. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused you.

There is an ongoing recovery effort to retrieve these requests. If you submitted a FOIA/Privacy Act request, or a FOIA appeal in July 2009 and have not received confirmation of receipt by August 15, 2009, please re-submit your request online, or via email, or mail, or via fax (in the case of a FOIA request or appeal). If you have questions, please feel free to contact the FOIA Service Center Hotline at (202) 401-8365 or send an email to

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

About FOIA

More Resources
Text of the Freedom of Information Act disclaimer
Annual FOIA Report - FY2008
download files  PDF (409K)
Presidents Memorandum Regarding FOIA disclaimer
U.S. Department of Education FOIA Plan and Status Reports
U.S. Department of Education FOIA Backlog Reduction Goals for FY 2008-10
download files  PDF (36K)
A Citizen's Guide on Using FOIA and the Privacy Act to Request Government Records disclaimer
DOJ FOIA Guide disclaimer
ED FOIA Regulations
Proposed FOIA Regulations - 2000

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.

Making Requests

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 website. Both contain many documents that are available to the public.

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Last Modified: 08/05/2009