Choosing a postsecondary institution is a major decision for students and their families. Along with academic, financial, and geographic considerations, the issue of campus safety is a vital concern. In 1990, Congress enacted the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act (Title II of Public Law 101-542), which amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). This act required all postsecondary institutions participating in the Title IV student financial aid programs to disclose campus crime statistics and security information. The act was amended in 1992, 1998, and 2000. The 1998 amendments renamed the law the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act in memory of a student who was slain in her dorm room in 1986.
The Clery Act requires higher education institutions to give timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees, and to make public their campus security policies. It also requires that crime data is collected, reported and disseminated to the campus community and also submitted to the Department of Education. The act is intended to provide students and their families, as higher education consumers, with accurate, complete and timely information about safety on campus so that they can make informed decisions.