Berry College: Security breach on students' personal information

September 20, 2006

Berry College President Dr. Stephen R. Briggs informed the campus community of a potential security breach this morning.

College officials were notified late Monday afternoon that student information included on applications for need-based federal aid filed during the 2005-06 academic year has been misplaced by an external financial aid consultant. This data, including student name, Social Security number and reported family income, involves 2,093 students or potential students who submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Berry in 2005-06. Of those, 1,322 are currently enrolled at the college.

At this time, there is no evidence that any of the data has been used for fraudulent purposes, college officials say. Briggs informed the Berry community of the potential breach via e-mail Wednesday morning. He noted that at no time were the administrative or student databases compromised and that, based on what is known at this time, no first-year students have been affected.

The college is in the process of issuing individual notifications to anyone whose information might be at risk. A hot line has been set up for students and parents to answer questions and address concerns. A Web page also has been established with information regarding identity theft and what to do should personal information be compromised. Additionally, Berry is contracting with Equifax to offer free credit monitoring for a period of one year to those affected.

"We regret deeply that this unacceptable breach has occurred," Briggs said. "The privacy and security of confidential data is of paramount importance to all Berry administrators, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this is a one-time occurrence."

main page ATTRITION feedback