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Dec 12, 2017

Privacy Laws

1 comment


After having a conversation at the Board Meeting last week I have come to the conclusion that privacy laws are unintentionally putting a damper on what we can do as financial aid administrators. We often get requests for Needs Analysis Forms from housing authorities, cash assistance programs , food assistance programs, WIOA, etc. With the restrictions of who we can release information to (even after having a signed release from students) it is making it very difficult to serve students. How do you all handle this?

~Michelle Lukesh, Dona Ana Community College

Dec 12, 2017

This is quite the topic Michelle. Even in today's NASFAA webinar, this was a major concern. No Personal Identifiable Information (PII) can be shared from a Financial Aid Office to an outside entity (third party) even with a release signature. What we are doing here at San Juan College is providing the student's data directly to them. The student, and only the student, can pick up the information which we are sealing in an envelope and then requiring a current identification to pick it up. They can hand deliver the document or perhaps have it faxed from a center; just not the Financial Aid Office. Even if they have a FERPA release form on file, we are only releasing it to the student as we learned at FSA that we are governed by FERPA, HEA, the Privacy Act, and the SAIG agreement. Be careful what you receive via email from students as that could be a security breach that has to be reported to the DOE. PII information has to be protected so if you don't have an encrypted email box, you cannot receive emailed documents from students that contain their personal identifiable information. That brings me to: What about consortium agreements? We only list the budget data with no PII info or do we? That's another question. Anyone else?

Mindi Schrum, San Juan College