Extending the USI to higher education
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 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?
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
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.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment's Higher Education Division has developed an information pack to help education providers communicate the introduction of the USI to higher education students, staff, and wider stakeholders.
Messaging for your channels
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) 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.
Social media posts
Use our suggested text to let students know about the USI:
- Are you starting uni in 2021? You need a USI – it's your lifelong education number. Get one now at www.usi.gov.au
- Are you starting uni 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 need a USI. It's your lifelong education number and you need it to get Commonwealth financial assistance. Get one now! www.usi.gov.au
Download our customised content tiles to use on your channels.