About the Unique Student Identifier(USI)
What is a USI?
The USI is a reference number made up of ten numbers and letters. It’s free, easy to create and stays with you for life.
You’ll need a USI if you are a:
- new or continuing student undertaking nationally recognised training
- higher education student in a Commonwealth supported place or graduating in 2023 and beyond.
Without one, you won’t be able to receive your statement of attainment, qualification, or award. You also won’t be eligible for higher education support, like HECS-HELP.
For VET students, the USI gives you access to an online record of your nationally recognised training in the form of a VET transcript. This can be used when:
- applying for a job
- seeking a credit transfer
- demonstrating pre-requisites when undertaking further training.
Keeping national training records together
In April 2012, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to implement the USI to give students access to a complete record of their VET enrolments and achievements from a single source.
Key facts about the USI initiative:
- jointly developed by federal, state and territory governments in consultation with stakeholders
- supported through Commonwealth legislation and administered through the USI Registry System
- commenced on 1 January 2015.
The USI initiative is also valuable for government as it enables the collection of information about students’ training and study activity, and their movements within the VET and Higher Education systems. This information provides an important foundation for understanding and improving VET and higher education performance and better meeting the needs of students, education or training providers and employers.
The USI initiative is supported by the Student Identifiers Act 2014.
Under the legislation, an education or training provider must not issue a statement of attainment or a qualification unless the student has been assigned a USI.
Other key legislation:
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTO) 2015
- Student Identifiers Regulation 2014
- Student Identifiers (VET Admission Bodies) Instrument 2015
- Student Identifiers (Exemptions) Instrument 2018
Role of the Student Identifiers Registrar
The Student Identifiers Registrar is a Commonwealth statutory officer established by the Student Identifiers Act 2014.
About the Registrar:
- responsible for administering the USI initiative nationally
- appointed by the Commonwealth Skills Minister in consultation with the ministers responsible for skills in states and territories.
The Office of the Student Identifiers Registrar is located in the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment. The Office manages the USI Registry System and the USI Contact Centre.
Enhanced student permissions
Recent changes to the USI Registry System allow VET students to give permission to a third party to view their authenticated VET transcript. Find out more about student permissions.
USI data access guidelines
The USI data access guidelines outline arrangements where data collected and collated under the Student Identifiers Act 2014 might be requested, disclosed and/or used for research. The processes and requirements in the Guidelines must be followed for the information to be lawfully used or released.
USI expansion to higher education
In 2019, the Australian Government committed to extend the USI from VET to higher education students. This is a joint initiative across the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and the Office of the Student Identifiers Registrar (OSIR) and commences from 1 January 2021.
Find out more about the USI expansion to higher education.