Equipment containing the names and Social Security numbers of about 1.3 million Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. borrowers has disappeared, company officials said.
There was no evidence the information had been misused, but Texas Guaranteed said it said it would notify the affected borrowers by mail starting this week.
"It was not a security breach where someone hacked into our system," said Sue McMillin, Texas Guaranteed's president and chief executive.
The piece of equipment, which the company did not identify, was lost May 24. Officials said encrypted electronic files containing the data were sent to Hummingbird Ltd., which helps companies manage large amounts of information. A Hummingbird employee downloaded, decrypted and stored the files on a piece of equipment that was later lost.
Toronto-based Hummingbird is still searching for the missing equipment, company president and chief executive Barry Litwin said. He said it is "extremely unlikely" that someone would use the information inappropriately because it is password-protected "many times over."
The equipment contained personal information on about 10 percent of the Texas Guaranteed's borrowers.