One education number for life: the USI moves to higher education

USI logo and a group of 2 women and 2 men gathered around a laptop

Students starting higher education in 2021 can now apply for a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

This story was first published on Monday 15 March 2021. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

If you're starting at university this year, you’ll need a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

The pathways to higher education in Australia are as diverse and varied as students themselves. However, this year, there's one thing most tertiary students have in common – they all need to get a USI.

This becomes their education number for life. Students also require a USI to be eligible for Commonwealth financial assistance, or a Commonwealth supported place.

As at 1 March 2021, over 11 million students have created a USI since 2015. The USI also allows VET students to access one central online record of their Australian training achievements Since January 2021, the USI has been rolled out to higher education students.  Students starting study in 2021 will need a USI to be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and Commonwealth financial assistance, like HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.

Continuing students are also encouraged to create their USI as soon as possible. From 1 January 2023, all students must have a USI to receive their qualification. This includes all students who started their studies before 2021, and all onshore international students.

The process is being made easier for students in the admissions process. Some Tertiary Admission Centres now request the USI on applications, and many higher education providers have asked students for their USI when they enrol.

Student Identifiers Registrar, Janette Dines, said they are pleased to welcome their newest customers, higher education students.

“Over 11 million VET students have created a USI since 2015, and over 1 million of these have been in the past financial year,” Janette said.

“We understand how challenging things can be for new students, so we’ve made the process of getting a USI as simple as possible.”

It’s even easier for students who have done any registered training since 2015, as it’s likely they already have a USI and can find it quickly by following a few short steps.

Education providers can also create, find and verify USIs by connecting to the USI registry system.

Janette encourages students to get their USI as soon as possible.

“It’s their lifelong education number – they only need to create it once,” Janette said.

It is anticipated that the USI will be rolled out to school students next, from 2023.

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Correct at time of publication.