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University Social Security Number Policy

A Social Security number (SSN) has several purposes, all involving identifying an individual: it is an individual’s Tax Identification Number (TIN) for income tax purposes, and therefore it is used in employment and banking records, on student academic records and loan applications, and for credit accounts and credit records, as well as for its original intent, to identify the individual’s Social Security records. These records define the individual’s financial life.  It is vital to keep Social Security numbers private to prevent identity theft.

In 2000, the University of Illinois developed and adopted a formal policy on the collection, maintenance, and release of Social Security numbers. The primary purpose of this Social Security number policy was to ensure that the necessary procedures and awareness existed to ensure that University employees and students complied with both the letter and the spirit of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. A major initiative of the policy was the development of a University wide Unique Identification Number (UIN) which was assigned to all employees, students, and other associated individuals, such as contractors or consultants. The UIN is assigned at the earliest possible point of contact between the individual and the University and is used in all future electronic and paper data systems to identify, track, and service individuals associated with the University. The UIN is permanently and uniquely associated with the individual to whom it is originally assigned.  Except where the University is legally required to collect a Social Security number, individuals will not be required to provide their Social Security number, orally or in writing, at any point of service, nor will they be denied access to those services should they refuse to provide a Social Security number. However, individuals may volunteer their Social Security number if they wish as an alternate means of locating a record.  Access the full text version of the Social Security Number Policy for further information.