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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “UA to change 4,400 student ID numbers”

    UA to change 4,400 student ID numbers

    In a move to curb potential identity thefts, about 4,400 UA students will receive a new identification number over the weekend of May 31 because they currently match with Social Security numbers.

    Student identification numbers are used when applying for the university, for viewing applications online and when applying for housing before a Net ID is established, said senior associate registrar Beth Acree. After that, a WebAuth username and password is more commonly used.

    For the past six years, student identification numbers beginning with the letter “”S”” have not been based on students’ Social Security numbers, said university information security officer Sylvia Johnson.

    Most of the numbers to be changed belong to graduate students, she said.

    “”For about a 12-year period, we, as did many universities, used the Social Security number as the student ID number,”” Johnson said. “”ID theft wasn’t prevalent, people weren’t connected on the Internet. It’s only come to people’s awareness since about 2001 when the legislation was passed.””

    A change in law during the 2001-2002 school year led the UA to stop generating student identification numbers based on Social Security numbers, in favor of the randomized “”S”” numbers.

    “”There used to be a loophole that said that we had to allow people to have those numbers if they requested them,”” Johnson said. “”And now that law has changed. So we can now say, ‘No more Social Security numbers being used as student ID numbers.’ “”

    Many students had requested to keep the same number because it made it easier to remember, she said.

    “”There has always been an option to change it, and they have elected not to,”” she said.

    Johnson said she has not heard of any incidents of identity theft at the UA as a result of student ID numbers, but added “”there is always the possibility, and that’s what we want to prevent,”” she said.

    Students will be issued a new student identification and pin numbers over Student Link, she said.

    Johnson said she is confident there will be no technical glitches with class registration or other university functions when the bulk transfer of numbers occurs.

    “”We’ve been very careful to ensure we’ve done as much as possible to prevent anything like that from happening,”” she said. “”We’ve sent the word out in as many ways as we can so we can ensure a smooth transition.””

    Student numbers have always been available to change upon request, Johnson said.

    “”Although it’s a change, it isn’t something that wasn’t already being done on a case-by-case basis,”” Johnson said. “”We’re convinced that what we’re doing won’t create much upset in students’ lives.””

    The Office of the Registrar is sending correspondence to students on when the transfer is scheduled, Acree said.

    “”There shouldn’t be any fallout from this. We (change numbers) every day now,”” she said. “”It’s just a matter of doing 4,000 at once instead of two or three a day like we normally do.””

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