Proper Use of University Identification Numbers (FERPA)

Best Uses

We strongly encourage units to use UINs for administrative purposes. Personnel may use a person's UIN to ensure that they are working with the correct records and data for a patron. It is perfectly acceptable to email UINs.

UINs and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The University of Illinois is obligated to protect the information it maintains about a person from being accessed or used inappropriately. Because student UINs are part of a student's educational record, some understanding of FERPA is needed in order to handle UINs correctly.

FERPA classifies information in a student's educational record as personally identifiable "directory" or "non-directory" information.

  • Directory information may be disclosed without a student's explicit written consent, unless the student has requested suppression of his or her directory information.
  • Non-directory information may only be disclosed with a student's permission.

FERPA includes a student identification number in its list of directory information. Visit FERPA and Compliance to learn more about how the University of Illinois handles student information.

Prohibited Uses

To protect the potential confidentiality of student UINs, non-University personnel must never be able to view any confidential directory information without express written permission. In addition, the following uses of all UINs are prohibited:

  • UINs must never be publicly displayed, in whole or in part. One example of public display would be a website that can be accessed by non-personnel.
  • UINs may never be used to publicly communicate any non-directory portion of a student's educational record, such as by posting grades using a whole or partial UIN.

UINs are intended only to uniquely identify a person or record. Therefore, these uses are also prohibited:

  • UINs may not be used to determine or authenticate whether a person is who they claim to be.
  • UINs may not be used—alone or in conjunction with publicly available information—to obtain any services or any nonpublic information about a person.
  • UINs may not be used as a verbal or electronic password.
  • UINs may not be used as any part of a login. Some special exceptions may be made for temporary logins when no viable alternative exists to using UINs. Units that need such an exception must contact us.

Direct all questions about and requests for UINs to our Help Desk.




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