Students at the College will no longer need to be as concerned about social security number (SSN) theft. According to Frank Cooper, director of Records and Registration at the College, students will now have a choice in protecting themselves and their identies. “You have a choice now,” Cooper said. “That’s what we wanted to do.”
As of June 16, the College changed its identification system from using a SSN as a primary identifier to an eight-digit number called the TCNJ ID.
According to Cooper this new identification number can be easily accessed by logging on to The Electonic Student Services website (TESS) with the student’s SSN and Personal Identification Number.
Once accessed, students have the option of logging on by using either their SSN or thier TCNJ IDs.
According to Cooper, there have always been concerns from different constituents at the College about using SSN as a primary identifier. There is a risk of theft or security breeches.
Cooper said that in order to ensure the protection of all identities, there would be no visible
SSN available to anyone on campus.
“Even if a student goes to an office like Records and Registrations and they cannot remember their TCNJ ID number, they can give the clerk their SSN,” Cooper said. “When the clerk types the number in, the only number that will appear on the screen is the new TCNJ ID.”
According to Cooper there has been an ongoing debate over which number to use as an identifier.
“The SSN is convenient, but in this day in age, it has become more important to protect identity,” Cooper said.
Students, however, are not convinced that the change is the most convenient way to ensure security.
“I didn’t mind putting in my SSN, it’s easier to remember,” Eric Cross, junior management major, said. “If you can still use it, then I don’t care, but remembering a new number would be a pain in the butt.”
Although this new identification system has been implemented, Cooper advises the students and faculty that the College will continue to collect SSN.
This information is essential for some federal and state business processes such as Financial Aid, government policies and required reporting.
“This is phase one of the new ID system,” Cooper said. “It does not replace the SSN.”
According to Cooper this change to the TCNJ ID affects only programs such as TESS, The Advising Registration and Transcript Information Exchange (ARTIE), and The Student Information System (SIS). Cooper ensures that the new ID system will only improve the services for students at the College.
“We are confident that this change will help us to continue to serve our students’ needs, while ensuring the protection of your identity,” Cooper said.