GV students’ info stolen from loan company

Dan Michniewicz

A student loan processing company has said the personal information of 156 current or former Grand Valley State University students was stolen from it during the weekend of March 20 and 21.

Educational Credit Management Corporation, the designated loan-processing agency for Virginia, Oregon and Connecticut, said a total of 3.3 million student loan borrowers’ information was stolen via the use of portable media.

The stolen data includes names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, but it did not include savings, checking, credit card or other financial information.

According to ECMC, no misuse of the information has been reported.

The office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education is working with ECMC to assist the company in contacting affected individuals to ensure they are provided with resources to protect their information.

The federal government — not universities or students — determines which companies will service a student’s federally funded loans.

“Our role is in providing these federal loans to the students, but the agreement is between the student and the federal government,” said Ed Kerestly, director of GVSU’s office of Financial Aid.

Sue Diekman, a representative with Weber Shandwick, the public relations firm hired by ECMC, said the company began mailing notification letters today, and affected individuals should receive their letter before April 12.

“Our entire organization is deeply disappointed that this happened, and we are very sorry,” Diekman said.

The notification letters contain a 12-month subscription to a package of credit protection services through Experian. The package includes free credit monitoring service, access to identity theft and fraud protection consultation and up to $25,0000 in individual identity theft insurance.

To determine if your personal information has been affected, visit https://www.ecmc.org/register/Register.do or http://www.nslds.ed.gov.

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