The USI initiative is underpinned by the:
- Student Identifiers Act 2014
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTO) 2015
- Student Identifiers Regulation 2014
- Student Identifiers (VET Admission Bodies) Instrument 2015
- Student Identifiers (Exemptions) Instrument 2014
USI Data Access Guidelines
The Unique Student Identifier Data Access Guidelines set out the arrangements under which data collected and collated under the Student Identifiers Act 2014 might be requested, disclosed and/or used for research. The processes and requirements set out in the Guidelines must be followed in order for the information to be lawfully used or released.
In April 2012, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to implement the USI to provide students with the ability to obtain a complete record of their training from a single source.
The Commonwealth and state and territory governments developed the USI initiative jointly in consultation with stakeholders (students, training organisations and industry). It is supported through Commonwealth legislation, including the Student Identifiers Act 2014, and administered through the USI Registry System.
The USI initiative commenced on 1 January 2015 and the USI Transcript service commenced on 22 May 2017.
Enhanced Student Permissions
On 28 November 2019, the Australian Government introduced the Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Bill 2019 into Parliament which seeks to amend the Student Identifiers Act 2014.
The Bill will allow a student or person who has studied VET after 1 January 2015 to give permission to a third party such as a licensing body, employment agency or potential employer to view their authenticated VET transcript. The student controls whether or not they give this access, to whom, and which of their achievements are displayed. The student can also set the period the transcript can be viewed, with the ability to remove this access at any time. Giving students this ability and choice increases transparency in the sector, and reduces regulatory burden during employment recruitment processes and applications for funding, making it easier to verify VET qualifications.
The Bill also introduces civil penalties to protect the integrity of the student identifier and authenticated VET transcript and to deter fraudulent behavior.
Current status: The Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Bill 2019 was introduced to Senate and read a first time on Tuesday, 11 February 2020.
On 4 December 2019, the Australian Government introduced the Student Identifiers Amendment (Higher Education) Bill 2019 into Parliament, which also seeks to amend the Student Identifiers Act 2014.
The Bill will facilitate the extension of the Unique Student Identifier (USI) to higher education students, and enable the assignment, collection, use, disclosure and verification of student identifiers for those students.
From 1 January 2021, new domestic and onshore overseas students studying at a higher education provider may apply for a USI. From 1 January 2023, higher education providers must not confer an award on an individual unless the individual has been assigned a USI, or an exemption applies.
Current status: The Student Identifiers Amendment (Higher Education) Bill 2019 received Royal Assent on Friday, 6 March 2020, giving effect to the above.