The hard drive included names and social security numbers of former students and was returned at the request of the university.
The buyer of a computer at a surplus action contacted Missouri Western earlier this month. The drive was sent back via overnight shipping. The location and name of the buyer was not released.
The buyer had assured the university the hard drive was not copied or transmitted in any way, University officials announced Thursday.
“Missouri Western State University makes every effort to ensure confidential information is secure,” said Cale Fessler, vice president for financial planning and administration. “We sincerely apologize for this incident. Missouri Western does not believe the information has been misused in any way.”
The university is sending an advisory to around 3,000 students who attended the university between 2005 and 2009.
Before selling surplus computers, the university routinely removes and destroys hard drives. They claim to have taken steps to avoid similar incidents in the future.