February 08, 2005

New ID cards aimed at preventing identity theft

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale administrators announced today (Feb. 9) that students worried about having their Social Security numbers on their student ID cards may get new ones — without legible Social Security numbers — at no charge.

"Students raised the issue earlier this month," said Larry H. Dietz, SIUC's vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management . "They have had the option of getting new cards without the numbers for a few months, but there was a charge. Now they may receive replacement cards for free."

Dietz said the student's Social Security number will now only be encrypted in the magnetic strip on the back of the card. Special readers are required to access the number.

Students who want a new ID simply need to take their old cards to the main office in the SIUC Student Center. New cards take only a few minutes to make.

SIUC hopes to move to a new student information system sometime in the next three to four years that would allow the University to use an alternative number to identify students. The University recently formed a committee to look at possible options. SIUC purchased its current system in 1988 and has upgraded it periodically since then.