Breach, Data Security

Sensitive student data improperly disposed during university relocation

The personal financial information of students of National American University (NAU) in Rapid City, S.D., may have been compromised after thousands of records were found in a dumpster near the school's old campus.

How many victims? Information of thousands of NAU students is involved in the incident.

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, loan numbers and Social Security numbers.

What was the response? According to the attorney representing NAU, the school has launched an investigation into the matter. In an interview with the Rapid City Journal, Brendan Johnson, U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, said that due to budget cuts there aren't enough resources to “investigate” the incident.

Details: NAU hired a third-party contractor to help in moving from Rapid City to a new campus. During the move, either the school or the contractor improperly disposed of the student records at a nearby Dumpster. An unnamed former NAU student who lives nearby discovered the documents and turned them in to the Rapid City Journal. NAU may have broken a federal law as some of the data were student loan documents, and would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Quote: “Our priority is to figure out whether there was a breach here, and who was involved,” Thomas Johnson, the attorney representing NAU, said. “NAU takes seriously those responsibilities, they have protocol in place, and believed they followed protocols in place.”

Source:, “Student financial records may have been compromised,” Dec. 8, 2013.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.