Muhlenberg College SID Initiative

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Berg ID Initiative

“The Social Security Number was created in 1936 to track workers’ earnings for the purpose of paying Social Security taxes and determining eligibility and benefit amounts upon retirement….” Since that time, however, its uses have grown and now the SSN “is generally regarded as the single-most widely used record identifier by both government and private sectors within the United States”. (Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2004)

With the wide-spread use of the SSN have come concerns for the privacy of individual numbers and personal information. In 1974 with the passage of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Social Security Number was made confidential and prohibited from release by educational institutions. Since that time, some institutions, while continuing to collect the SSN, have changed their campus identifiers to another number, unique to their schools, for tracking students, faculty and staff.

Muhlenberg College is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals. The College has worked for some time to limit the use and dissemination of SSNs. Effective with the start of the Fall 2005 semester, the College will discontinue its use of SSN as the primary identifier for students in CapStone, the campus student information system. A unique nine-digit student identification number, called BergID, will be assigned to all students. Accompanying this effort will be a new campus ID card, bearing this new BergID.

This initiative is critical to our continuing efforts to protect the privacy of our students. Certain campus offices, including but not limited to the Registrar’s Office, the Financial Aid Office, and the Controller’s Office, will continue to maintain and use the Social Security Number to meet specific federal, state, and local government requirements.

Elimination of SSN as the primary identifier of faculty and staff will proceed within the context of a review of the Human Resources and Financial systems of the College.