The Unique Student Identifier (USI) is a reference number which is made up of a combination of ten numbers and letters, that is free and easy to create and stays with you for life. If you are a new or continuing student undertaking study at a Higher Education Provider (HEP), or if you are graduating after 1 January 2023, you will need a USI.

Do I need a USI?

Yes. From 1 January 2023 all students who are enrolled with UNSW will need a USI, unless exempted (please see below).

From 1 January 2023, all higher education students, including international students studying in Australia, must have a USI to:

  • graduate and receive their award (all students)
  • access Commonwealth Assistance (eligible students)

International students and New Zealand citizens must be in Australia to create a USI. Please ensure you create your USI now.

Exemption to the USI

The following applies to international students only:

  • If your entire study has been offshore you do not need a USI to receive your award.

  • Where you have partially studied in Australia and your graduation date is before 1 January 2023, you do not need a USI to receive your award.

  • Where you have partially studied in Australia (and completed your studies), but are currently offshore, and your graduation date is after 1 January 2023, it is expected you will be exempt from having a USI. The Department of Education is currently working on the process to allow exemptions so you can receive your award. They expect this process to be finalised by December 2022 and will update their website with information about what you need to do.

Read more on USI Exemption Cases for Graduating International Students

Why do I need a USI?

On 4 December 2019, the Australian Government introduced the Student Identifiers Amendment (Higher Education) Bill 2019 into Parliament, which also seeks to amend the Student Identifiers Act 2014.

The Bill will facilitate the extension of the Unique Student Identifier (USI) to higher education students, and enable the assignment, collection, use, disclosure and verification of student identifiers for those students.

From 1 January 2021, new domestic and onshore overseas students studying at a higher education provider may apply for a USI. From 1 January 2023, higher education providers must not confer an award on an individual unless the individual has been assigned a USI, or an exemption applies.

The Student Identifiers Amendment (Higher Education) Bill 2019 received Royal Assent on Friday, 6 March 2020, giving effect to the above.

Why does UNSW need my USI?

The Australian Government has advised that all domestic and onshore overseas students require a USI to study and graduate from an Australian University. It is also required for students to be able to access Commonwealth Assistance in all forms.

The USI will replace the current Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). If you do not provide UNSW with your USI, UNSW cannot offer you a Commonwealth supported place and/or Commonwealth Assistance with your tertiary studies.

How do I create or check if I have a USI?

If you have attended or completed any Nationally Recognised training in the last five years, you may already have a USI. If you are unsure whether you already have an existing USI you can check if you have a USI here.

If you do not already have a USI you can create your USI here. You will need to have a valid form of identification handy.

It is important that you only have one USI to ensure that you receive your correct HELP entitlements and that you keep your USI safe because if you forget it, UNSW cannot access it for you.

When do I need to provide my USI?

As a commencing student or when changing programs you will be asked to provide your USI as part of your online acceptance, before you enrol.

Continuing and graduating students also have the option to provide a USI through the myUNSW portal, at any time. 

How to get / submit your USI to UNSW

What happens if I don’t provide my USI?

You will:

  • not be awarded your degree 
  • not receive Commonwealth Assistance (Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, SA-HELP and/or OS-HELP)

I have questions about the USI process and/or privacy policies, please see the USI help page and the USI privacy and use page.

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