Understanding GDPR Compliance for Higher Ed Institutions in 2024

Understanding GDPR Compliance for HigherEd Institutions in 2024

As an education technology provider committed to supporting higher education institutions, Ellucian aims to shed light on the critical aspects of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance specific to the educational sector.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a comprehensive European data protection law applicable to all EU and EEA countries. It establishes a unified framework for handling personal data, focusing on safeguarding individuals' fundamental rights and fostering a level playing field for data processing within the European market.

Who is Subject to GDPR?

All organizations processing personal data of individuals residing in the EU fall under the purview of the GDPR. This includes both for-profit and non-profit entities, irrespective of their location. Notably, individuals need not be EU citizens to benefit from GDPR protections; their presence in the EU during data processing activities guarantees such protection.

Does GDPR Apply to Your Institution?

Considering the global nature of higher education, it's highly probable that your institution is subject to GDPR regulations. Key indicators include having students and staff from EU/EEA countries, participating in exchange programs, receiving payments from EU/EEA countries, or maintaining affiliations with individuals residing in EU/EEA countries.

What about the CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) protects the personal information of California residents collected by for-profit companies with specific revenue thresholds or data involvement criteria. While colleges and universities are typically exempt as not-for-profit entities, administrators at seemingly not-for-profit schools should be cautious, as IRS determination of not-for-profit status doesn't ensure exemption. Clarity is crucial for accurately understanding CCPA obligations.

Why the GDPR Matters for Educational Institutions

Colleges and universities manage large volumes of sensitive personal data from students and staff, especially during tasks like fee collection and admissions processing. This highlights the need for strong data protection measures, particularly when outsourcing services like insurance management. Non-compliance with GDPR can result in financial penalties and damage to institutional reputation, potentially affecting student enrollment and overall standing.

How Ellucian Protects Your Students' Data

Ellucian's personal data processing aligns with GDPR requirements and is a top choice for colleges and universities concerned with data protection. Ellucian's robust data protection strategies ensure data processed by Ellucian is in full compliance with relevant privacy laws. Ellucian has clear procedures for handling Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) and is prepared to respond promptly to data breaches within the stipulated timeframe.

What's Changed in 2024

The European Commission announced a new data transfer pact with the United States in late 2023, aiming to resolve legal uncertainties for companies transferring personal data across the Atlantic. The Commission asserts that new measures address concerns raised by previous court rulings, but experts think this ruling will be challenged by privacy activists.

Turning Privacy into Opportunity

No matter how GDPR and privacy regulations evolve, individual privacy laws are here to stay. Despite requiring significant time and investments, safeguarding your student data is a change for colleges and universities to be more transparent, bolster trust among stakeholders, and strengthen their brand image. Working with Ellucian ensures that your institution has a fully compliant technology partner who understands privacy law and can help you on your GDPR compliance journey.

Working with Ellucian ensures that your institution has a fully compliant technology partner who understands privacy law and can help you on your GDPR compliance journey. Contact us today!

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