Is College Board Inappropriately Sharing Student Data?

July 31, 2020

The College Board has inappropriately shared information about students with technology companies, Consumer Reports has charged. The companies are Adobe, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat, Yahoo! and AdMedia.

After Consumer Reports contacted the College Board, it made some tweaks to the way it handles student data, but even then some of the information made its way to some companies. Consumer Reports created three imaginary students and then tracked information from the College Board to the companies.

Zachary Goldeberg, a spokesman for the College Board, said, "Like other not-for-profit organizations, we use certain third-party platforms to share information with students, such as: scholarship opportunities; free, personalized SAT practice; and registration information for College Board exams. We only share information this way to send messages to students who have created personal, online accounts on our website, CollegeBoard.org. The data we share with third party platforms is encrypted and hashed, and is used by those platforms to deliver our messages to our users. We are not paid by any of those platforms. Students can always manage privacy settings within platforms and apps, including what happens once they get to any platform."

He added, "On CollegeBoard.org students create an account with a username, which should be 6-15 characters with letters and numbers and may not contain an email address. The username the student chooses is included in the URL, and the header information is shared with third parties. No other information has been provided. We are changing this practice so the username is no longer included in header information provided to third parties."

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