Missing Student Notification Policy and Procedures 20 USC 1092 (j) (Section 488 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008)

Any institution participating in a Title IV federal student financial aid program that maintains on campus housing facilities must establish a missing student notification policy and related procedures for those students who live in on campus housing and who have been missing for 24 hours.

Summary of the New Campus Safety Disclosure Responsibilities:

Institutions of postsecondary education that participate in the Federal student financial assistance programs have been required by Section 485(a) and (f) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) to provide the Secretary with campus crime statistics since 1990. The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008 and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The link aove provides a general summary of these rules. Final regulations implementing these provisions were published October 29, 2009 and can be found at 74 Fed. Reg.55902.

The policy must:

  • Inform each such student that such student has the option to identify an individual to be contactedby the institution not later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing in accordance with official notification procedures established by the institution
  • Provide each such student a means to register confidential contact information in the event that the student is determined to be missing for a period of more than 24 hours
  • Advise each such student who is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, that the institution is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian not later 24 hours after the time that the student is determined to be missing in accordance with such procedures
  • Inform each residing student that the institution will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency not later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing in accordance with such procedures
  • Require, if the campus security or law enforcement personnel has been notified and makes a determination that a student who is the subject of a missing person report has been missing for more than 24 hours and has not returned to the campus, the institution to initiate the emergency contact procedures in accordance with the student's designation

The Procedures must:

  • Include procedures for official notification of appropriate individuals at the institution that such student has been missing for more than 24 hours;
  • Require any official missing person report relating to such student be referred immediately to the institution’s police or campus security department; and
  • If, on investigation of the official report, such department determines that the missing student has been missing for more than 24 hours, requires—
    1. such department to contact the individual identified by such student
    2. if such student is under 18 years of age, and not an emancipated individual, the institution to immediately contact the custodial parent or legal guardian of such student
    3. if subclauses (I) or (II) do not apply to a student determined to be a missing person, inform the appropriate law enforcement agency

Text effective July 1, 2010

34 CFR 668.41(a)

On-campus student housing facility: A dormitory or other residential facility for students that is located on an institution's campus, as defined in § 668.46(a).

34 CFR 668.46 (a)

(a) Additional definitions that apply to this section.

Business day: Monday through Friday, excluding any day when the institution is closed.

Campus:
(1) Any building or property owned or controlled by an institution within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the institution in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the institution's educational purposes, including residence halls; and
(2) Any building or property that is within or reasonably contiguous to the area identified in paragraph (1) of this definition, that is owned by the institution but controlled by another person, is frequently used by students, and supports institutional purposes (such as a food or other retail vendor).

34 CFR 668.46

h) Missing student notification policies and procedures.
(1) An institution that provides any on-campus student housing facility must include a statement of policy regarding missing student notification procedures for students who reside in on-campus student housing facilities in its annual security report. This statement must--

  • Indicate a list of titles of the persons or organizations to which students, employees, or other individuals should report that a student has been missing for 24 hours
  • Require that any missing student report must be referred immediately to the institution's police or campus security department, or, in the absence of an institutional police or campus security department, to the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the area
  • Contain an option for each student to identify a contact person or persons whom the institution shall notify within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, if the student has been determined missing by the institutional police or campus security department, or the local law enforcement agency
  • Advise students that their contact information will be registered confidentially, that this information will be accessible only to authorized campus officials, and that it may not be disclosed, except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation
  • Advise students that if they are under 18 years of age and not emancipated, the institution must notify a custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, in addition to notifying any additional contact person designated by the student
  • Advise students that, the institution will notify the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, unless the local law enforcement agency was the entity that made the determination that the student is missing

(2) The procedures that the institution must follow when a student who resides in an on-campus student housing facility is determined to have been missing for 24 hours include--

  • If the student has designated a contact person, notifying that contact person within 24 hours that the student is missing
  • If the student is under 18 years of age and is not emancipated, notifying the student's custodial parent or guardian and any other designated contact person within 24 hours that the student is missing
  • Regardless of whether the student has identified a contact person, is above the age of 18, or is an emancipated minor, informing the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the area within 24 hours that the student is missing

Q and A

Q. Our school does not have any on campus housing. We do provide housing for students, but not on campus. The school leases apartments a few miles away. Do we need to have a missing persons policy?

A. The final regulations which will be effective July 1, 2010 define campus as noted in the text above. If the school leases the entire building and takes charge of security for the building (i.e. controls the building) the school would likely need to have a policy. If someone else controls the building, then the definition of on campus housing above likely does not apply.