Western Identification Number Policy

Identification Number Policy

I. Policy

This policy addresses the use of Social Security Number (SSN) as the primary identifier used to access information from electronic resources on campus. In essence, this policy states that SSN will no longer be used as the primary number to identify students, faculty, staff, and alumni in various university electronic resources. This includes resources such as university databases which use account names, email addresses, directory names, etc. as identifiers. The policy further states that a randomly generated six digit number will be assigned to each student at the point of acceptance to the university. This number will become the primary identifier for the student. Faculty and staff will also receive a random six digit number when they enter into a contract for employment with the university. This number will also become the primary identifier for these individuals.

II. Policy Purpose

Compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Privacy Act of 1974.

Compliance with Colorado House Bill 03-1175 Concerning Numbers to Identify Postsecondary Education Students.

University’s response to the growing concern of identity theft.

III. Guidelines

  • No university database, current and future, will use SSN as the primary number to identify individuals.
  • The university does not allow the use or display of an individual’s SSN on any publicly accessible document or Internet site.
  • Commencing with summer term 2003, a random six digit number will be assigned to each new student at the point of acceptance to the university. Faculty and staff members will be assigned a random six digit number when they are entered into the Human Resource module.
  • A person’s identification number will appear on their Mountaineer ID card.
  • SSN will not be displayed on computer monitors, printed forms or other system outputs unless required by law or to complete university business.
  • SSN will be maintained and collected for the purposes of federal and state reporting. SSN will be stored as a confidential element for the individual.
  • When accessing information for students, faculty or staff, office assistants will ask for the student’s name or the identification number printed on the Mountaineer ID card as a means to access the desired information. If these items are unavailable, the policy does allow the use of SSN by university personnel to complete their assigned duties.
  • Pre-printed forms and documents that request SSN should be changed (on a reprint basis) to request identification number. If SSN is required, the appropriate disclosure statement should be included.
  • Disclosure Statement:

“Western State Colorado University is committed to protecting the privacy of its students, faculty, staff and alumni. Federal and state laws require the use of Social Security Numbers for payroll functions, student billing, student financial aid, and state and federal reporting. It should be understood that SSN will be maintained and collected for these purposes but will not be used as the primary identification number within university databases.”

  • SSN will not be used as the primary identifier; however, student (current and prospective), faculty, and staff may be asked to provide their SSN. SSN is required for payroll functions, student billing, student financial aid, and state and federal reporting.
  • Questions and concerns regarding the following should be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students:
    • Identification Number Policy.
    • Policy implementation.
    • Policy violations.
    • Your assigned identification number.