Educational Institutions “Schooled” By Data Breaches

Educational Institutions Take on Data Breaches 

In 2016, 9 percent of all data breaches came from the education sector. While hackers may not be interested in snooping through your old grades, they’re looking for any personal information the institution has on file to commit any number of identity crimes.

Educational institutions are targeted because they hold large amounts of sensitive information. Once criminals gain access into an institution’s network, they capture your personal information from admissions applications, third-party online homework apps, campus Wi-Fi networks and more. An education data breach can also reach far and wide, affecting faculty, students and alumni alike.


“There are many points of access [in educational institutions] because it is all about the free exchange of information. And that’s the challenge for all colleges and universities. In 2014, 50 universities had major data breaches, and not all of them bothered to report it.”

– Wallace D. Loh, President at University of Maryland

The Identity Theft Resource Center found that 86 of the total 732 data breaches in 2017 have been in educational institutions, leaving 73,529 records exposed. Breached information from an education data breach could include, but is not limited to: name, birth date, Social Security numbers, credit card data and medical information.

Schools face hefty IT bills, a tarnished reputation, a mountain of bad press and backlash from students, faculty and alumni. With the average cost of an education data breach standing at $4 million, it’s vital that organizations remain educated about data breaches and cybersecurity.

Continue following Fighting Identity Crimes for the latest breach and scam news, as well as tips from our industry experts about protecting your identity.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.

John Burcham, Chief Privacy Officer at EZShield Fraud Protection
John Burcham is Corporate Counsel for EZShield. He is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional...
Read more about John Burcham.


  1. I continue getting calls for local area codes as ell as from Washington DC, Florida, Kentucky, you get my drift, stating I qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness, which I had forgiven due to Disability, in 2012. I have not given personal information but when I as them why they call as I was already FORGIVEN they hang up. Is this something Nationally?

    • Hi Denise,
      We’re sorry that you’ve been getting these annoying calls. Unfortunately, this sounds like one of the many phone scams criminals use to capture personal and/or financial information.
      While data breaches can be a common catalyst of phone scams (in reference to the Equifax data breach), criminals can grab your phone number from a variety of sources. Be sure that your phone number does not appear publicly on your online accounts (this can be done by visiting your security/privacy settings), and avoid sharing your phone number via social media comments, blogs and other online public forums.
      You can report any scam phone calls you receive to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Simply visit to submit a complaint. You can also add your number to the Do Not Call Registry by registering your number either online at, or via telephone by calling 1-888-382-1222.
      Visit our Scam tables to view the latest scams we’re tracking each month. If you are still having issues with scam calls, reach out to the Resolution Center for further assistance.
      The EZShield Team


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