Missing Person Procedures

(HEA Title IV, Section 485(j))


Quick Take: Institutions providing on-campus student housing must establish a missing student notification policy and procedures for students who reside in on-campus housing.  Among other things, the student must be given the option to provide confidential contact information for a person to be notified in the event the student is officially reported as missing 
If campus security officials determine that a student for whom a missing person report has been filed has been missing for more than 24 hours, then within the next 24 hours they must:
  • Notify the individual identified by the student to be contacted by the institution in this circumstance;
  • If the student is under 18 years old, notify a parent or guardian; and
  • [In cases where the student is over 18 and has not identified a person to be contacted,] notify appropriate law enforcement officials.*
*  Note:  The statutory language is inconsistent, at one point indicating that law enforcement officials will always be notified with 24 hours when a student is officially determined to be missing, and at another point indicating that law enforcement officials will be notified only if the student has not identified a contact or is over 18 years old.
When Will This
Take Effect?
This provision went into effect when the bill was signed into law on August 14, 2008.  It is subject to negotiated rulemaking, so specific regulatory guidance may be provided in the future.  In the meantime, institutions must make a "good faith" effort to comply with the law.
Who on Campus May Need to Be Involved?  President; student life; student housing; registrar; security/campus police; legal counsel
Additional Resources Statuatory Language

HEA101 Web Keyword for More Information: MissingPerson