University provided personal student info to TCN

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    I just opened a letter from TCN stating that enclosed was an LVN to BSN nursing course analysis. They stated that I needed one more ISU course, sign the “Adjustment Authorization”, submit my signature with the credit card number, they would provide that course.

    First, have no association with TCN. December a year ago, I did purchase the 4 books to challenge the ISU classes. That was all and I had no need of the TCN courses for I have degrees and all the prerequisites. I am solidly enrolled in ISU and, in fact, have already taken the course TCN is offering to sell me. I took at an accredited community college.

    When I called TCN, I spoke to Terri, their operation supervisor in academics. She said they have an “association with ISU” and authorized get student transcripts and DARS from ISU. TCN does an analysis and notifies the student what they are missing. Further, they acquire transcript info and DARS reports for all ISU students in the ISU DL nursing program.

    I went ballistic with this info. First, I have no contract or association with TCN. I only bought the 4 challenge books and paid the full price. I bought more books thru Amazon for my ISU classes, but Amazon had not requested my personal info, which also included my social security number, name, address, all classes and colleges and universities I attended.

    Because ISU receives federal funds, it is required by law (aka the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)) to keep my information secure and private. TCN said they did nothing wrong; they do this all the time. ISU registration said they did not send out any transcripts, etc., to TCN--but they will check into this. ISU agreed that the privacy law was broken in my case and in the meantime, please accept our apology.

    If ISU did not send the transcripts and DARS report, then TCN must be paying someone at ISU to provide them with this info. It appears that TCN is trying to drum up business. If they find the student is missing a course that they could offer, TCN sends out the official looking letter telling the student to sign the ‘adjustment authorization’ and provide payment.

    It appears that TCN is not going to let an opportunity slip by because the student could take the class during summer school at a community college. However,I took no classes with TCN and there is no contract. Clearly, laws were broken.TCN said they do this all the time.

    Has anyone else run into this situation? It would be helpful to know if others have had the same situation as I am in contact with an attorney. The more people who have had their privacy breached, the more serious the issue.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I got something similar. My letter states that I requested info from ISU about their LPN -BSN program. Its one of those "we can help you with your next step." letters. Nothing offering a course or no inclination that they know what I need in order to finish. If I get another one I'll let you know, ISU has had my transcripts for a month now and I am just waiting on my acceptance letter from them.
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    I never got that far as ISU would not answer my questions, referring me to TCN instead. The university is deep under the covers of the bed it shares with TCN. Please keep us informed of your legal progress with this issue.
  5. 0
    My school (which is not your school) informs us a the the beginning of each year that we have to sign something to keep our information private. So the default is that anyone could call up to the school and get our basic information unless we request that our information is kept private. Perhaps this is what happened to you?
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    FERPA is a HIPPA for institutions that receive government funds. By law there are limitations on who can and cannot receive personal student information. A facility could state that someone had the right to access the info, but there must be a true need to know. In TCN's case, they acquired my transcripts, ran an analysis and then sent me a letter telling me they had just the class I needed for ISU, sign the enclosed contract, and submit your credit card for payment. ISU states in their catalogue, the class I allegedly needed can be taken at a ISU or a community college. No note it can be taken with TCN.

    In TCN's case the the customer service supervisor of academics acknowledges TCNs error; that is, they should have never contacted me because I had no contract with them and did not need the class they were offering to sell me. Yet, they do not acknowledge their error in accessing my personal information. Their rationale was that ISU sent them the info and ISU does this all the time. When I stated, once TCN received the first private student info, why didn't TCN contact ISU and put a stop to the information? From what I can determine, this issue has been going on for years and involved many ISU students. By law, ISU must notify those students that there has been a breach in the student's records and private info has been disseminated to someone who had no right to know. ISU must also file a report with the gov stating the error and what is being done to correct the problem. Unlike HIPPA, FERPA really has no penalities--other than should there could be an investigation by the gov and the gov has the right to withdraw gov funds the university/college/school is receiving.
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    Quote from caliotter3
    I never got that far as ISU would not answer my questions, referring me to TCN instead. The university is deep under the covers of the bed it shares with TCN. Please keep us informed of your legal progress with this issue.
    As far as being deep under the covers with ISU, it appears that it is only the nursing department, not ISU in general. When I contacted the administration at ISU, the had no idea what TCN was and their 'association' with TCN.
  8. 0
    Quote from LadyinScrubs
    As far as being deep under the covers with ISU, it appears that it is only the nursing department, not ISU in general. When I contacted the administration at ISU, the had no idea what TCN was and their 'association' with TCN.
    Fascinating.
  9. 0
    i'd like to know if anyone bought the material from the tcn regarding the 4 courses that need to be taken prior to getting into the lpn-bsn. nurs (106,224, 328, 330) and is willing to sell it cheaper. the nurs 328 has more books.
    thanks.
  10. 0
    i am not sure if tcn provides the same books that are associated with each nurs course or if they are given a compile list of the necessary info for the test and then sell it to prospective students at a much higher price. are people paying for what's going to be on the test or just bc you use tcn and then they provide a tutor in the event you fail the test. or is one just better off buying the books that goes with each course, studying on your own, and challenge the test. any advice if greatly appreciated.

    thanks.
    jp


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