Social Security numbers out as Kent State switches to Banner

Kristine Gill

New ID numbers have replaced Social Security numbers as the main identifier for students on Banner, the new software running FlashLine.

Roberta Sikula-Schwalm, executive director of Enterprise Resource Planning, said they’ve been using the new ID numbers since Banner went live Oct. 15 and that they were created to protect students.

“People have unfortunately used (SSNs) to commit fraud, and we wanted to protect the sensitivity of that information,” she said.

While students won’t use their SSN as a login or ID, the system will still have them stored.

“We will still need them in our files for very specific uses,” Sikula-Schwalm said. “If you have a job on campus, you have to submit it to get paid, for example.”

The difference is that only those who need to see the SSN will have access to it.

“Now the people who have access to it need it to complete a function. The SSN is not exposed to people who don’t need to know that number,” she said adding that faculty and advisers won’t have access to the numbers.

Sikula-Schwalm said SSNs were once used as identifiers because they were used on all transcripts, test scores and financial aid information coming in for each student.

“Banner automatically generated a Banner ID number for each student whose records were added to the system this September,” said Susan Cole, associate university registrar. New students will receive numbers as they are admitted to Kent State.

Cole said most contemporary software systems are designed to use an alternate number as a primary identifier and that Kent State looked for that feature when switching to Banner.

Students can view their ID numbers by logging into FlashFAST and accessing the “add or drop classes” menu or “look up classes.” The Banner ID is located next to the student’s name at the top of the page. Cole said the numbers are nine digits and begin with the number eight.

Cole said students may be asked for their Banner ID numbers when looking to override a prerequisite for a course at their college office or when requesting a transcript. She said that because the numbers are easy to look up using the students name, most people will never have to memorize them. Cole agreed that the change will protect and not affect students.

Contact student affairs reporter Kristine Gill at [email protected].