Are Student ID Numbers Confidential? (What Can Someone Do With Student ID)

Young female in an orange sweatshirt showing a blank id card isolated on white background
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The importance of student ID numbers is very unclear. Until I started researching student IDs, I had no idea if student ID numbers are confidential or widely shared.

In general, student ID numbers are confidential, but FERPA considers them directory information which means that colleges can disclose them without the student’s consent. However, most schools are cautious about using, posting, or disclosing students’ ID numbers.

If you do not already know your student ID number, check out Where and How to Find Your Student Id NumberOpens in a new tab..

Let’s look at if student ID numbers are PII or protected by FERPA, if you should keep them secret, and what someone can do if they steal your student ID.

Is student ID protected by FERPA?

According to FERPAOpens in a new tab., as long as someone cannot use only your student ID number to access your education records, student ID falls under the category of directory information, which means that they can disclose that information to a third party without the student’s consent.

Check out my favorite way to carry your student ID: small card slots that stick on the back of your phone that are leatherOpens in a new tab. or siliconeOpens in a new tab.. 

Is student ID PII (personally identifiable information)? 

FERPA considers student ID (that cannot be used on its own to access education records) as directory information. However, many schools, such as the University of MissouriOpens in a new tab., consider student ID to be personally identifiable information.

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What can someone do with my student ID number?

Someone may be able to use a student’s ID number to access their academic or financial records or make purchases from the college bookstore. However, at most colleges, you need both a student ID number (or student email) and a password to access most things online, including the school portal and bookstore.

Many college bookstore websites require you to sign in to your school portal, which means that they would need your password, not just your student ID number.

If you haven’t set up your school portal account yet, then you should be careful about sharing your student ID number and set up your school portal account ASAP.

What can someone do with your student ID card?

Students need to be more careful with their student ID cards.

Someone can use a student’s ID card to access places on campus, including, for some colleges, their dorm room. They can also be used for campus dining, vending machines, or the campus bookstore. Student IDs can also be used to get student discounts.

At most schools, to make purchases (including dining and bookstore), your student ID has to be connected to your school account where you pay your tuition and fees, have money on it, or have it connected to your bank account.

A photo does come up when you swipe it, so it would be more difficult for someone to use your student ID this way, but since this is a security concern, you should report a missing student ID to your college.

Check out 15+ Things a Student ID Can Be Used ForOpens in a new tab..

Can someone else use my student card?

Students should not lend their student ID cards to someone else—this creates a security concern and could potentially allow them to access the student’s records or make purchases if it has money on it. The student ID can be confiscated, and all parties involved may face disciplinary action or fines.

What happens if you use someone else’s student ID?

If a person uses someone else’s student ID and is discovered, the card will be confiscated, and the person can face disciplinary action and fines from the college. If the misuse of the ID is significant enough, fraudulent use of student IDs could lead to criminal charges or civil proceedings.

Should I keep my student ID number secret?

Top secret, confidential grunge rubber stamp on white, vector illustration

Everyone knows that you need to keep your social security number or banking information secret, but we don’t know if student ID numbers are important to keep secret.

In general, someone knowing a student’s ID number is not a serious problem since, at most schools, people need their student ID number and password to access information. However, there is no reason for students to tell people their student ID number, so the best practice is to keep the number to themselves.

At some schools, security is not as tight, and your student ID number is all you need to access information on your student records over the phone or by email, in which case, it is more important to keep your student ID number secret.

It is unlikely someone would try to access academic or financial information, but it could happen. Better safe than sorry.

However, as we have seen above, people may be able to misuse your student ID card, so it is important to keep it secure.

Can someone steal your student ID?

Someone can steal your student ID card. If your card is stolen, report the card as stolen (or missing) to your college using their website, school portal, calling, or going to campus security. Report it to the police.

If your student ID is stolen and has money on it or is linked to your school account or bank, freeze your ID or unlink it from the bank to prevent unauthorized spending.

What to do if you lost your student ID card

If you lose your student ID card, you should:

  1. Retrace your steps and look for your student ID card.
  2. Go to campus security and see if anyone turned it in.
  3. Tell your school so that they can deactivate your old card and avoid a potential security risk.
  4. Replace your IDOpens in a new tab. if you want (or if your college requires you to have an ID).

If it is linked to your school account or bank, you want to make sure that you immediately freeze or unlink it from your bank.

It is also a good idea to memorize your number so that you know your student ID number, even if you lose your student ID card.

How to not lose your student ID

You now understand why it is important not to lose your student ID.

The easiest way to ensure you do not lose your student ID is to always keep it in the same place, ideally a walletOpens in a new tab. or phone walletOpens in a new tab..

Check out the Best Ways to Carry Your Student IDOpens in a new tab. so that you do not lose it.

Now that you know about the confidentiality and importance of your student ID and what to do if it is lost or stolen, learn more about Student ID NumbersOpens in a new tab. and Student ID Cards.Opens in a new tab.

My favorite products for student IDs

Thank you for reading this article—I hope you found it helpful! Here are some of my favorite products for taking student ID photos and carrying student IDs that I hope you’ll also find helpful.

Ring light for taking student ID photos: Use a ring lightOpens in a new tab. to have your photo well-lit and help make you look good.

Card slots: I think the easiest way to carry your student ID is using card slots that are leatherOpens in a new tab. or siliconeOpens in a new tab.. They stick on the back of your phone so you will always have it with you and won’t lose it.

To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations for tools and products for students, check out this resourceOpens in a new tab. that I made for you!

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