April 4, 2005

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

New Identity Numbers and ID Cards phased in for VSU students,faculty and staff to protect against identity theft

As part of an effort initiated by the Board of Regents for all University System of Georgia colleges and universities, Valdosta State University is phasing in new identification numbers for students, faculty and staff and phasing out the use of Social Security card numbers. The initiative includes the issuance of new computer-generated identification cards to most members of the VSU community.

Elimination of the Social Security number on VSU identification cards began in July 2004 for newly arrived faculty, staff and students. However, beginning in April 2005 all VSU faculty, staff and students, except for graduate students, retirees or students with an accumulation of more than 115 semester hours, will start receiving new ID cards with new ID numbers. May graduates will not receive new cards. The new ID cards will no longer have Social Security numbers encoded. All students will be assigned new VSU identification numbers including those who do not receive a new ID card. Graduate students who wish to receive a new card may do so by contacting the VSU 1Card Services office after ID card conversion.

"The new identification number is the result of efforts to reduce possible identity theft and everyone's concern about having one's Social Security number displayed so prominently on a card," said Chuck Hudson, VSU Registrar, who along with Interim Chief Information Officer Joe Newton, co-chairs VSU's ID Change Task Force.

"In place of Social Security numbers, we have assigned a unique ID number that is the primary identifier for all University business," said Newton, who added that the project affects academic and administrative offices and procedures campus wide.

Officials say that every record currently maintained for a person within the Banner Student Information database is being given a new identification number. VSU will continue to collect Social Security numbers for financial aid reporting and taxation purposes, but their use will be strictly limited.

Hudson said planning for the conversion to a generic identification number began in 2002, but was placed on hold for a time at the direction of the University System. He said the planning resumed again in the spring of 2004. He added that students and faculty have previously been allowed to request a "generated ID number" in lieu of continued use of their social security number.

"A number of our students and faculty have made this type of request and the success in dealing with these individuals gives us confidence in the overall planning process," Hudson said. "Now, as we provide services to members of our VSU community everyone will have their own separate identification number independent from social security."

Plans for distributing the newly designed Identification Cards are being handled by VSU 1Card Services.

"We currently plan for ID card distribution to begin on April 20, provided card production stays on schedule," said Deidra DiPietro, Director of VSU 1Card Services. "Cards are being produced at an off campus site en masse using current card system photos," she added. DiPietro said the new VSU ID cards will include a contemporary design that is more in keeping with "our distinct campus persona."

DiPietro said card distribution for non-resident students will be at the VSU 1Card Services office.

"Resident students must pick up new cards in their assigned hall," said DiPietro. "Distribution for faculty, staff, and administration will be performed within each department April 29th."

DiPietro said a current form of government issued photo identification and a signature will be required to receive a new ID card.

"All old ID cards that have not been replaced will be deactivated May 5th. We recommend the old cards be destroyed or kept in a secure location," DiPietro stated.

More information on the new identification cards can be found at: http://www.valdosta.edu/news/id_cards/

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