FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: D.C. Circuit educates Feds on fee category

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Court: FOIA discount applies to students, too

By Megan Wilson, The Hill, May 20, 2016

Students filing open records requests with the federal government should be eligible for reduced fees, an appeals court ruled Friday.

Filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can sometimes result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in charges that are requested by federal officials for duplicating documents and conducting searches.

While some entities — such as the media and teachers at educational institutions — qualify to have these fees reduced, the Defense Department declared that Kathryn Slack, a student, did not.

“If teachers can qualify for reduced fees, so can students,” wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision released on Friday. “Students who make FOIA requests to further their coursework or other school-sponsored activities are eligible for reduced fees under FOIA because students, like teachers, are part of an educational institution.”

Read more here.