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New Student Identification Numbers Starting June 1

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 29, 2009

In a move that will help protect against identify theft, UNH will no longer use social security numbers as a means of keeping track of student information.

Starting June 1, all students will have new nine-digit randomly assigned ID numbers. Except for those areas where federal regulations require it (like financial aid), departments and services—dining and housing, for example--will also use the new numbers.

The conversion will take place during the weekend of May 29.

Some departments will need to take steps now to ensure they can still access students’ information after June; others will be able to wait until September or later. And during the next year, departments will still be able to search for a student by his or her social security number as an alternative.

Faculty and staff who have a meal plan, or use a card swipe to gain access to a building or a room, or who are enrolled in a class or degree program will also need new ID cards to continue those services.

“UNH students have been strong advocates for the use of non-social security numbers as identification,” says Scott Valcourt, director of Computing and Information Services’ Project Management and Consulting Services office.  “With that mandate from both the administration and students, this project moved quickly.”

Work on the project began in February 2008, followed by the decision to do the task in-house and then, to have it in place by the fall of 2009. The change involves every returning student as well as incoming students.

“In general, any place where, before, they were asked for their social security number, they will now give their identification number,” says Valcourt.

Students and employees will be able to get their new numbers starting June 1. Current students can get them by logging onto Blackboard.  Most students will get them through their Granite Square Station mail box; some will be hand-delivered; others will need to visit the dining office to acquire the new ID card.  A directed communication will notify all students where they can get the IDs this summer.

“Departments need to think about how they use student data,” Valcourt says. “If they pull it by social security numbers, they’ll need to match it with the new student ID number.”

Valcourt’s office will offer support to make the transition easier, he says. New numbers will all begin with nine, making it easy to recognize them as student identification numbers.  The new card will look slightly different to allow faculty and staff to recognize the need to encourage a student to get a new ID card.

A list of frequently asked questions can be found on the project website at http://www.unh.edu/unhid/.

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