ID’s available without SSN

By Gus Bode

Factoid:A new student ID card can be obtained at the Administrative and ID Card Office located on the second floor of the Student Center. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You must bring in your old card to obtain a new one.

Social Security numbers will no longer be printed on student ID cards, a change administrators say is a direct result of student concerns about identity theft.

Larry Dietz, vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, announced in a press conference late Tuesday afternoon that effective immediately students could request new ID cards for free. Dietz had stated earlier that students would have to pay a $15 ID card replacement fee.

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“When students raise concerns on issues that may not have been on our front burner, we try to move them there,” Dietz said in an earlier interview with the DAILY EGYPTIAN.

The new ID cards will have Social Security numbers encrypted in the security strip on the back of the card instead of displayed on the front.

A random five-digit computer generated number will replace the Social Security number, and cards would only be readable with an electronic card swipe machine.

Jeff Duke, assistant director of the Student Center, said the purpose of the five-digit number is to have some type of unique identifier for every student. Duke said the number would help eliminate confusion, especially among students with common names.

The University is looking to replace the current student information system, which is driven by Social Security numbers and used to track the records of students, within the next couple of years.

Dietz said a committee has been formed to explore possible options and look at systems at other schools.

With the exception of financial aid and student employment information, for which the federal government requires a Social Security number, the new system would use a combination of numeric and alpha characters, as opposed to Social Security numbers, to track and organize student records.

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A new system is estimated to cost the University $7.5 million. This figure is $3 million more than Dietz’s earlier estimate.

Dietz said the University would absorb the short-term cost of producing new cards.

“We don’t anticipate it being a big-ticket item,” Dietz said. “The purchasing of a new system will be a big-ticket item, but if we can accommodate student needs, then we want to do that.”

According to Dietz, SIU-Edwardsville is also in the process of replacing its old student information system. He said the transition for SIUE is easier because of its smaller size in comparison to SIUC.

In addition to changing the student IDs, the University has also eliminated the use of Social Security numbers on class rosters and in reporting grades.

University employee ID cards were also changed earlier last year. Duke said the same concerns about identity theft among faculty prompted the change. University employees are now identified by random numbers instead of Social Security numbers.

Duke said changing the system to process the cards without Social Security numbers was just a matter of a manual software change and only took about an hour.

“It was a welcome change,” Duke said. “Students have wanted it, and the administration responded very quickly.”

Duke said the ID card office has had a few students come to get new cards but not an overwhelming amount. He said he does not anticipate the traffic to pick up.

Rick Miller, a senior studying mechanical engineering from Des Moines, Iowa, said he had never thought about the possibility of identity theft stemming from his student ID card until reading about it in the Daily Egyptain.

Miller, who has lost his student ID card before, said he thinks the University has made a move in the right direction and will get a new card soon.

“That’s what they need to be doing – assigning numbers to students as opposed to using a Social Security number as the main ID number,” Miller said.

Students wishing to obtain a new card can do so by going to the Administrative and ID Card Office located on the second floor of the Student Center. Students must bring in their old ID card, which will be shredded and thrown away.

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