The Australian Government is extending the Unique Student Identifier (USI) to higher education students, starting in 2021.
What is the USI?
The USI is a student's lifelong education number.
When do students need a USI?
From 1 January 2021, new higher education students will need a USI in order to be eligible for Commonwealth assistance (Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and/or HELP loan). It will be a mandatory field on the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) for new students.
By 2023, all higher education students will need to have a USI if they expect to receive their award in 2023 or beyond. This includes all students who started before 2021, and all onshore international students.
Continuing students can get their USI anytime between now and 2023.
What do students need to do?
Students who are commencing study in 2021 should:
- check if they already have a USI (from previous vocational education or training)
- get a USI as soon as possible;
- provide their USI to their Tertiary Admissions Centre or Higher Education Provider when requested.
A USI is needed for Commonwealth financial assistance
If a student is applying for Commonwealth Financial Assistance (HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, SA-HELP) a USI must also be recorded on their Commonwealth Assistance Form (CAF or eCAF).
What do Higher Education Providers need to do?
Starting now, Higher Education Providers need to:
- encourage 2021 commencing students to apply for a USI as soon as possible
- request and record the USIs of commencing students on enrolment
- any student commencing in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) must have a USI recorded prior to census date
- where applicable, ensure the CAF or eCAF includes the student’s USI
- report the USI as part of the DESE reporting cycle.
Decommissioning of Commonwealth Higher Education Student Number (CHESSN)
The Office of the Student Identifiers Registrar is not responsible for the decommissioning of CHESSN or the Transforming the Collection of Student Information project (TCSI).
For questions about these initiatives, contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment at USItoHigherEd@dese.gov.au
Access to the USI Registry System
USI Web services
Higher Education Providers can now access the USI Registry System by integrating USI web services with Student Management Systems.
Education or training providers must submit a System Access Request Form before they are given access to USI web services. System developers can find out more about how to implement USI web services from our system developers support section.
USI web services can help you to:
- verify single or multiple USIs
- find an existing student's 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
USI Organisation Portal
The functionality to allow Higher Education Providers to access the USI Organisation Portal is not yet available and is currently being adapted. We will notify Higher Education Providers when the Organisation Portal functionality is available and outline the steps needed to apply and connect.
In the interim, Higher Education Providers can undertake preparatory steps including:
- setting up the GovID/RAM authorisation that will be required, in order to access the USI Registry System – more information is available at myGovID/RAM.
- requesting the USI Check Character Algorithm that can be used to configure USI fields within higher education systems and forms and ensure the USI field parameters are correct by completing our short form.
- completing and emailing a System Access Request Form. Higher Education Providers who wish to access both USI web services and the USI Organisation Portal are only required to submit a single System Access Request form.
We have prepared promotional content about the USI for Higher Education Providers to share with staff and students.
Use our graphics and suggested captions in social media posts, Electronic Direct Mail (EDM), publications and websites.
Download our customised content tiles to use on your channels.
Social media posts
Use our suggested text to let students know about the USI:
- Are you starting study in 2021? You need a USI – it's your lifelong education number. Get one now at www.usi.gov.au
- Are you starting study in 2021? You need a USI. It's your lifelong education number. Create it once and it’s with you for life. Get a USI or check if you already have one at www.usi.gov.au
- To get a loan for uni, you'll need a USI. Its your lifelong education number and you'll need it to be eligible for Commonwealth financial assistance. Get one now!
Are you a new student in 2021? You'll need a USI
From 1 January 2021, new higher education students will need a Unique Student Identifier (USI) in order to be eligible for Commonwealth assistance (Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and/or HELP loan). It will be a mandatory field on the electronic Commonwealth assistance form (eCAF) for new students.
Graduating in 2023? You’ll need a USI
If you intend to complete your degree at the end of 2022 and graduate in 2023, you will need a USI to receive your degree. We recommend you get your USI now!
Are you an onshore international student? You’ll need a USI
If you intend to complete your degree at the end of 2022 and graduate in 2023 you will need a USI to receive your degree. We recommend you get your USI now!
How do I get a USI?
You can apply for a USI at any time. You will need at least one form of valid identification and about five minutes to create one.
Think you might already have a USI?
If you have previously completed any VET or TAFE study, you may already have a USI. Check if you have one now.
When do I get a USI?
You may be asked to provide your USI at enrolment, so we recommend applying for one, or retrieving your existing one, as soon as possible.