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Has the Social Security number become too dangerous?

The Tennessean reported March 29 that Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, is encouraging colleges to reduce their reliance on students Social Security numbers.

With identity theft on the rise, Pressnell says the number has become too easy and too convenient to use safely. He is pushing Tennessee Higher Education Commission officials to create a new numerical student identification system.
The Tennessean reported March 29 that Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, is encouraging colleges to reduce their reliance on students' Social Security numbers.

With identity theft on the rise, Pressnell says the number has become “too easy and too convenient” to use safely. He is pushing Tennessee Higher Education Commission officials to create a new numerical student identification system.

However, the transition could be difficult, since Social Security numbers are used to track students across different schools and analyze trend data.

While most Tennessee colleges currently rely on Social Security numbers for record-keeping, the University of the South stopped using them internally about 25 years ago. Today, it uses nine-digit, randomly generated numbers. Vanderbilt University is using only the last four digits of students' Social Security numbers while it creates a new system.