Student IDs Get a Makeover
New cards eliminate the use of social security numbers
May 5, 2005 9:05 PM
SF State identification cards have gotten a security-minded makeover, and will make their debut at the end of May.
A new, randomly generated nine-digit student identification number will replace the partial Social Security number that is currently shown on the card’s face. The new cards feature a slightly different picture of the Golden Gate Bridge and a new color as well.
Students, faculty and staff will be able to pick up their new cards at the One Stop Student Services building beginning on May 24. The current SF State ID cards will be deactivated on the evening of May 31.
The cards are being changed to protect students’ personal information and to comply with California Assembly Bill 1306, said SF State Registrar Suzanne Dmytrenko.
The bill, passed in August of 2004, states that an individual or entity (such as SF State) is forbidden from printing Social Security numbers on “any card required for the individual to access products or services,” or “encoding or embedding a Social Security number in a card or document, including using a bar code, chip, magnetic strip, or any other technology.”
Social Security numbers are frequently used in identity theft, which is among the fastest growing crimes in the United States, according to the Social Security Administration.
Most often, criminals use a stolen Social Security number to apply for more credit in the victim’s name, and then use the credit cards without paying the bills.
Current SF State ID cards have the student’s Social Security number printed in part on the front, and encoded in the black magnetic strip on the back of the cards.
Beginning May 24 at the One Stop Student Services building, several express lines will be devoted to issuing the new cards. A valid photo ID, such as an old SF State ID or a driver’s license, is required to pick-up a new card. Any money encoded on old cards will be automatically transferred to the new IDs at the time of pick up.
“We’re doing everything possible to make the process convenient and security-minded,” said Dmytrenko.
New photographs will not be taken for the new cards. If a student wants a new photo, he or she will have to pay the ID replacement fee of $2 and wait until the fall semester to avoid complicating the replacement process, said Dmytrenko.
Dmytrenko said the entire process of picking up a new card should take no longer than 10 minutes, and she encouraged students to come and get their new IDs as soon as possible, although there is no deadline. Students who are leaving campus for the summer may get their new IDs when they return in the fall.
New cards will not be printed for students who applied for May graduation.
One Stop will remain open on a few Saturdays, Dmytrenko said, to accommodate students who can only get their IDs on the weekend.
SF State plans to convert all university computer databases to using the nine-digit numbers on the new IDs, and eliminate the use of Social Security numbers as the primary form of student identification.
Currently, students use Social Security numbers frequently for a variety of purposes, including logging on to MySFSU, paying registration fees and getting add slips for classes.
The “two-phase conversion process” will begin with the issuance of the new student identification numbers and ID cards in late May, and ultimately convert all university computer databases by mid-August, said Dmytrenko.
For the period immediately following the conversion, the university will use “dual-access” for student login purposes on services like MySFSU, where either a Social Security number or the new nine-digit number will suffice.
By November of 2005, the nine-digit student identification numbers will be used in lieu of Social Security numbers for all purposes, and Social Security numbers will no longer be used or accepted.
Social Security numbers will still be retained by the university for tax purposes.
SF State sociology major Felice Gardner, 22, said eliminating the use of Social Security numbers as student identification is a good idea.
“I guess it’s necessary,” said Gardner. “It seems like a bit of a hassle to have to go pick (the cards) up, but if that’s the price we’re going to have to pay for extra security than I guess it’s worth it.”
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