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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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University replaces SIDs with UINs

Beginning this semester, Texas A&M stopped posting Social Security numbers on class rosters and assigned each student, faculty and staff member a Universal Identification Number (UIN), to prevent identity theft.
“We would like to get away from using Social Security numbers for student identification purposes altogether,” said Tom Putnam, director of Computing and Information Services. “There is no reason to have them on the class rosters.”
The use of the UIN began this semester, but has been in the process for years, Putnam said. The new, nine-digit UINs were randomly assigned by a computer program, he said.
“There has been a lot of concern about identity theft,” Putnam said. “The request for this change came from faculty and students.”
All students, not just new students will receive a UIN.
Putnam said students will need to know their UIN if they have classes that use scantrons for exams.
Students can view their UIN by logging onto myrecord.tamu.edu using their NetID.
Ed Walraven, journalism adviser, said the new identification numbers will not be a big adjustment for faculty.
“It will be safer for our students, but overall, it’s not going to be that big of a difference,” Walraven said.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, professors are not allowed to post grades with a student’s whole Social Security number or even portions of it. The same procedure will be followed for the UIN.
Walraven said if professors must post grades publicly, that they must have the student pick unique identifiers or use WebCT. Potentially, some professors could wait until grades are due and post them on myrecord.tamu.edu, Walraven said.
Chris Hickman, a junior finance major, said he thinks the new system is a good idea.
“I understand that identification theft is a serious problem now,” Hickman said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Hickman said that memorizing a new number would not be a problem if he had to use it and that it meant potentially less problems in the future.
“I’d rather take the time to learn my number now and not have to worry about problems in the future,” he said.
Putnam said all new students this semester received their UIN in their welcome package. An e-mail will be sent out to Neo accounts informing students about the change and how they can access their new UIN, he said.

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