Audit finds State College of Florida potentially put students’ data at risk

Contracted IT workers had access to sensitive data like social security numbers

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An audit found the State College of Florida did not conduct proper background checks on IT workers who handled sensitive data such as bank account information and social security numbers.

In a report released late last month, a state auditor discovered there were four IT contract workers who did not undergo proper background checks. The workers had access to a variety of sensitive data, including student names, social security numbers and confidential bank account information.

State College officials told investigators the background screenings were not obtained because the four IT contract workers were working off site for short time periods.

That didn’t appease the auditors. They wrote:

“Notwithstanding this response and college procedures, when individuals who work in positions of special trust and responsibility are not required to have level 2 background screenings, there is an increased risk that the individuals may have backgrounds that are not suitable for those positions.”

On Tuesday students expressed concern about the discovery. “I feel like they need a background check so at least we know what they are capable of,” Jordan Ripka Dailey said. “That could actually ruin somebody’s life.”

“We don’t know who we’re giving this information to and that makes me personally uncomfortable,” Hunter Knuckles said.

The students are worried about what could happen if this data gets into the wrong hands. “Possibly steal students’ identity. Most of us have pretty fresh credit,” Knuckles said.

Once it was notified, the college acted swiftly to correct the issue. The school issued this statement to News Channel 8:

“The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota identified 970 employees, contractors and volunteers who are required to obtain a level 2 background screening. While these individuals were appropriately screened, state auditors recommended an additional group of off-site contractors be screened based solely on information they may be able to access. The College has updated our procedures to ensure that all contracts specific to this finding have been informed of the requirement and will complete the necessary background checks prior to their next engagement with the College”

Students are relieved that the problem has seemingly been resolved. “It makes me a lot more comfortable knowing that there isn’t anybody here that’s going to take my information or anybody else’s,” Knuckles said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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