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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: Student data protection exemption

Published (7/15/2011)
By Mike Cook
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Postsecondary institutions will have increased liability protection when disclosing student data.

Sponsored by Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) and Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), a new law exempts an institution of higher education that provides student data or records to the Office of Higher Education from liability related to “any breach of confidentiality, disclosure, use, retention, or destruction of the records” of the data by any of the individuals having access to the data.

Nornes said colleges are concerned about the increased risks they are taking when sharing required information with the office, especially when improper data disclosure could lead to things like identity theft.

All institutions that participate in the state financial aid program must now submit student record data to the office for research and program evaluation. However, the state is creating a state longitudinal education data system that will combine K-12 and higher education data and eventually workforce data. In addition to educational state departments or agencies, the information will be available to the Office of Enterprise Technology and the Department of Employment and Economic Development. School officials are uncomfortable with the increased level of risk as more agencies have data access.

The law takes effect Aug. 1, 2011.

HF1130/ SF799*/CH93

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