All Wisconsin juniors are now mandated to take the ACT, but when filling out personal information, many do not know where their personal information is going.

“I literally have no idea [where the information goes],” said junior Jennifer Taylor.

While some students may not know where the information goes, others believe it is given to just the ACT company itself.

“I’m sure just the ACT company keeps it [the information],” said junior Zachary Severson.

When the ACT has personal information, there seems to be no problem, but problems start to arise when said information is sold to those out of the company itself.

According to Philly.com, in 2013 a lawsuit was filed in Illinois suing the College Board and ACT for selling personal information to colleges without letting students know that their information would be sold.

The next question that comes to mind is: how much money do these companies make?

In 2013, the lawsuit alleged that both companies were charging organizations 33 cents per name to access the student data. Currently, both ACT and College Board charge 38 cents per name.

While 33-38 cents may not seem like a lot, the cents start to add up quickly.

The College Board database has about 7.5 million students and the ACT database has two databases. One for the PLAN test, which is taken by sophomores and another for the ACT, which is taken by juniors. The PLAN test has a database of about 1.25 million students and the ACT has a database of about 1.8 million students. Together they have a database of about 3.05 million students.

So if colleges are paying this much for information, what are they doing with it?

Through the College Board’s Student Search Service, test takers opt in for information sharing. These colleges can then use the database to look at data and search for prospective students according criteria like ethnicity, financial aid plans and high school academic performance.

The College Board says their Student Search Service is a service to help connect students and colleges. They say no commercial entities are allowed to see information and most of all it comes at no cost to the student. All they have to do is opt in.

The ACT’s equivalent to the Student Search Service, the ACT Education Opportunity Service, works similarly.

On the ACT’s website they say that their Education Opportunity Service is a free service that ACT takers opt in for. The service can help students to learn about college scholarships, education programs, careers, and financial aid. The service releases: name, address, gender, high school, email, date of birth, year of high school graduation, racial/ethnic background, intended college major, and occupational choice.

When Taylor and  Bluedorn were informed of this information, they were surprised.

“It’s pretty crazy. I don’t know how I feel about that,” said Taylor

Junior Bradley Bluedorn felt similarly.

“That’s scary,” said Bluedorn.

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