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Higher Education Provider FAQs

As a Higher Education Provider, am I responsible for allocating USIs to students? 

No. Students are responsible for creating a USI. You can request that the student provides you with their USI so you can record it. 

Can Higher Education and Tertiary Admission Centre staff access the USI Registry System? 

Higher Education Providers and Tertiary Admission Centres can access the USI Registry System by: 

  • integrating USI web services with Student Management System 
  • accessing the USI Organisation portal.

Submit a System Access Request form to seek access.

To request the USI Check Character Algorithm to configure USI fields within higher education systems and forms, please complete the Algorithm request form

USI web services can help you to:

  • verify single or multiple USIs
  • find a student’s existing USI with their permission
  • create single or multiple USIs at any time
  • view and update personal and contact details for students that provide USI account access.

We have support resources for system developers to find out how to implement USI web services.

What do Higher Education Providers need to do with the USI? 

Higher Education Providers need to: 

  • encourage new students starting university in 2021 to apply for a USI as soon as possible 
  • request and record the USIs of commencing students on enrolment 
  • where applicable, ensure the CAF or eCAF includes the student’s USI 
  • report the USI as part of the DESE reporting cycle. 

Any student commencing in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) in 2021 must have a USI recorded prior to census date. 

You can also choose to request and record USIs for any student who is expected to graduate in 2023. 

When should Higher Education Providers start collecting USIs? 

Higher Education Providers may choose when they wish to collect USIs. Students can get their USI any time and will need a USI at enrolment if they are applying for Commonwealth financial assistance via the CAF or eCAF forms. 

Can the USI be printed on Student ID cards? 

No. A USI cannot be printed on a Student ID card. 

Student ID cards include identity details (eg name, photo). The Student Identifiers Act 2014 protects the privacy of the individual and prohibits recording identity details. The combined effect of subsection 19(2) of the Student Identifiers Act 2014 and section 18 of the Student Identifiers Regulation 2014 is that even if an individual consented, an entity cannot use a student identifier as its own identifier; nor is an entity authorised to print the individual’s student identifier on a student card. 

Will there be a grace period for students who do not provide their USI before census date? 

No. For more information, contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment at USItoHigherEd@dese.gov.au

Is the privacy notice in the USI Registry Terms and Conditions still relevant if we are simply collecting USIs? 

Our privacy notice is linked to the terms and conditions and is not relevant if the USI is being collected. The notice is only relevant if the provider is creating a USI on the student’s behalf. 

When collecting USIs, we suggest that the provider refer students to their own privacy policy as well as section 16 of the Student Identifiers Act which advises that any other entity (other than the Registrar) collecting a student identifier must take reasonable steps to protect the record from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. 

A contravention of section 16 of the Student Identifiers Act is taken to be an interference with the privacy of an individual for the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). 

What is a ‘new’ student? 

A new student is anyone commencing a new course of study from 1 January 2021, and the census date for their first unit of study is on or after 1 January 2021. 

Depending on the circumstances, this includes students who are changing their course, picking up an additional course or dropping a course, those returning from a study break or deferral, or transferring from one provider to another. 

Decommissioning of Commonwealth Higher Education Student Number (CHESSN) 

For questions about the decommissioning of CHESSN or the Transforming the Collection of Student Information project (TCSI), contact TCSIsupport@dese.gov.au

For information on CHESSN visit the Study Assist website

For information on TCSI visit the TCSI website

How can we let students know about the USI?

We have prepared some promotional content about the USI for higher education providers to share with their staff and students. Visit our higher education page for access to our communications resources and messaging.

Is the USI replacing CHESSN?

From 2021, the Unique Student Identifier (USI) was extended to higher education students. The CHESSN will gradually be decommissioned. For questions about the decommissioning of CHESSN or the Transforming the Collection of Student Information project, contact TCSIsupport@dese.gov.au

Why is the CHESSN being decommissioned?

For questions about the decommissioning of CHESSN or the Transforming the Collection of Student Information project, contact TCSIsupport@dese.gov.au

I would like some more information about the TCSI project

Please contact TCSIsupport@dese.gov.au

Office of the Student Identifiers Registrar (OSIR)
Last Modified on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 [232]