The SDPC announces the release of the National Research Data Privacy Agreement (NRDPA)

Washington, DC, 18 November 2021— The Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC), a Special Interest Group of the non-profit Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community, is proud to announce the release of another great resource to support schools in their student data privacy stewardship roles.

The National Research Data Privacy Agreement (NRDPA) has been Community developed with extensive review and comment from schools, districts, state and government organizations, marketplace providers, researchers, universities, and their legal representatives. The NRDPA is designed to address the federal, state, and local student data sharing requirements and best practices between schools and research organizations.  Currently these agreements have been ‘one-offs’ between these organizations requiring substantial work in establishing – if addressed at all.

“Building off the successful development and usage of the National Data Privacy Agreement (NDPA), the A4L Community continues its work in streamlining data sharing agreements between districts/divisions and states with foundations, universities and research organizations”, touts Larry Fruth II, PhD, CEO and Executive Director of A4L.  “This NRDPA release, created over the past year with input from all constituents, is a standardized way for educational research to progress by helping researchers get the data they require while supporting educational institutions in their role as student data stewards.”

The NRDPA is formatted to follow the format of the successful SDPC National Data Privacy Agreement (NDPA) currently being used by thousands of schools and marketplace providers addressing common student data privacy concerns.  The NRDPA format allows for easier review and adoption by schools who have been using the NDPA for sharing data with application vendors under FERPA’s ‘school official’ exception.  

Unlike the NDPA, the NRDPA has been designed for schools and researchers to use to share student data under FERPA’s “Studies” exception. This exception allows approved researchers to conduct studies for, or on behalf of, schools or districts to improve instruction as well as administer student aid for developing, validating, or administering predictive tests. SDPC Community Members have developed this resource to continue towards its overarching goal of streamlining student data sharing, protecting privacy, and to set common expectations between schools/districts, marketplace providers and now, researchers.

The draft NRDPA can be found on the SDPC website (  with permissible usage rights for SDPC Members.  The draft includes a companion document that covers NRDPA usage and guidance on FERPA’s Studies exception.


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