Some of our web pages (such as online publication order forms, conference and training registration forms, web discussion forums) let you voluntarily submit personal information. In those cases, we will provide a specific notice before you begin submitting any personal information, explaining how your information will be safeguarded.
If you want to know more about how we record non-personal information about your visit or how we use information that you voluntarily submit, read on.
2. Non-personal Information We Record
If you do nothing during your visit but browse through the website, read pages, or download information, our website’s operating system will automatically record some general information about your visit.
During your visit, our web operating system will record:
The Internet domain for your Internet service, such as “xcompany.com” or “xcompany.net” if you use a private Internet access account, or “yourschool.edu” if you connect from a college or university domain.
The type of browser (such as “Netscape version X” or “Internet Explorer version X”) that you are using.
The type of operating system that you use (such as Macintosh, Unix, or Windows).
The date and time you visit our site, and the web pages that you visit on our site.
The address of the previous website you were visiting, if you linked to us from another website.
We use this information for statistical analysis, to help us make our site more useful to visitors. This tracking system does not record information about individuals.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22: Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal Agencies to use sessions and persistent cookies.”
When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a “cookie” to place on your computer. Placing cookie text allows websites to “remember” visitors’ preferences, surfing patterns and behavior while they are connected.
The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of Web pages. Cookies from ED.gov Web pages only collect information about your browser’s visit to the site; they do not collect any personal information about you.
There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary), and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.
Session Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as “Usage Tier 1-Single Session.” The Guidance states, “This tier encompasses any use of single session web measurement and customization technologies.”
Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies for two reasons: 1) to enable Google’s Universal Analytics to differentiate between new and returning visitors to our site, and 2) to block repeated invitations to take the ACSI survey.
A Google’s Universal Analytics (a third-party analytics provider) persistent cookie remains on your computer between visits to ED.gov for six months. Knowing if a user visited ED.gov within the past six months tells us the difference between visitors and “unique visitors” or those who visit our website more than once during this time period). This is an industry standard and provides high-level information on the breadth of traffic to and content usage of our given digital services. It is a powerful, invaluable metric because it’s the only measure that accurately calculates how many individual users visited ED.gov website in a given time. Combined with total visits, it tells a more comprehensive story about ED.gov users and their visit patterns.
We also use persistent cookies to block repeated invitations to take either the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) or iPerceptions survey. Based on your usage pattern, you may be asked if you would like to complete a customer survey of our website. The persistent cookie is set to block repeated survey invitations, and it expires in 90 days. Simply put, if you say you don’t want to participate in the survey, the cookie will remember this, and will not allow you to be asked again. We feel it is important and respectful to our users not to ask them the same question more than once. The ACSI or iPerceptions survey are customer satisfaction survey tools used by multiple federal agencies and organizations in the private sector. We use these surveys so we can compare ED.gov results to other government agencies and top commercial websites. These surveys enables ED.gov to: measure program performance; identify targets of opportunity; efficiently leverage scarce resources; obtain valuable feedback from our users; focus management’s attention on outcomes; and report customer satisfaction results.
The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as “Usage Tier 2-Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII).” The Guidance states, “This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected.”
If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can opt out or disable cookies in your browser. You will still have access to all information and resources at Department websites. However, turning off cookies may affect the functioning of some Department websites. Be aware that disabling cookies in your browser will affect cookie usage at all other websites you visit as well.
Pursuant OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance Attachment III, V, these cookies collect information similar to that automatically received and stored on the servers hosting ED.gov; they do not collect personally identifiable information. ED.gov does not access or store the raw information collected through these cookies. We do view aggregate statistical analyses prepared by our third-party analytics provider, but these analyses do not include any personally identifiable information. We do not sell, rent, exchange, or otherwise disclose this information to persons or organizations.