Data Defense: Privacy Protection Actions

Four actions to encourage students to take for better understanding of what data are collected about them and what control they may have over the use of their private information.

September 14, 2021
 
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Administrators and faculty members can -- and must, according to data privacy advocates -- encourage students to get a better handle on what personal data their institutions collect on them and why. A Student Voice survey from Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse, presented by Kaplan, found that students are largely unaware of just how much data their colleges have and how they may (or may not) be used.

When asked about very specific data points that tend to be on file, responses from the 2,286 undergraduates from 120 colleges and universities surveyed reveal a lack of awareness. For example, only about half think their institutions have information about what websites they visit while connected to campus Wi-Fi, the amount of time spent on coursework via learning management systems or what buildings they have accessed using a student ID. About three in 10 students don’t even think their institution collects basic enrollment status data, such as whether they are enrolled full- or part-time.

Increasing student knowledge about data helps them realize the implications of their personal information being used, sold or known by commercial entities or prospective employers, to name a few examples. In the event of a data breach, of course, identity theft can very directly impact personal finances, and being conscious of one’s data footprint may decrease the possibility of being affected by a breach.

Click on the infographic for four ways students can be urged to obtain more understanding and control of their data.

Student Voice explores higher education from the perspective of students, providing unique insights on their attitudes and opinions. Kaplan provides funding and insights to support Inside Higher Ed’s coverage of student polling data from College Pulse. Inside Higher Ed maintains editorial independence and full discretion over its coverage.

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