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I'm curious what other schools have done to collect SSNs from students when they are required for 1098T distribution.  I understand that we're required to ask for them, but that students are not required to provide them. Is anyone doing anything to collect them electronically, and if so, what safeguards did you put in place?  Are most people using paper forms?  Have you found other solutions?

Any info will be helpful.  Thanks.


Matthew S. Burfeind
Interim Chief Information Officer
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
617.879.7872 (p)
617.879.7979 (f)

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The SSN is also required (more importantly for the student) for financial aid. We try to encourage them to give us it at the time of application for admission, so financial aid processes correctly and quickly.




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It is my understanding that the new Federal regulations enable them to “fine” the college up to $100 for each and every missing or incorrect SSN that is submitted.  It is allowable to pass those “fines” on to the student, if you have made a “reasonable” effort to have the student verify that the number you have on file is accurate.  We’d prefer to avoid the fines, and thus avoid having to pass them on to students.  Our plan is to provide a link on our web portal where a student (after authentication/login) can view the SSN we have on file.  They will be provided a button to click if they believe the number is correct.  The fact that they have verified it will be stored in a table in our database along with timestamp.  They will also have a button if they have no SSN on file, which indicates that they choose NOT to provide it to us.  In that case, they will get a warning on the screen, followed up by an auto-generated e-mail, letting them know that the government may impose a fine due to their failure to provide the SSN.  That decision and timestamp will be stored in the same database table.  Finally, if they have the wrong SSN, they will be allowed to enter a new one.  The new SSN will be temporarily stored in the same table in the database (encrypted) along with a randomly selected “key”.  They will be told that a confirmation e-mail will be sent to their e-mail address, and that they must click on the link within that e-mail to “confirm” the change.  When they click (which contains an encrypted version of the Key and unique identifier of the student) on that link, the associated URL executes a package in the database, which confirms the key and unique ID.  If they match, then is moves the temporarily saved SSN to the “right” spot in our database, and saves the old SSN in an audit table along with information about who changed it and when.


When we go live with this new system (which we have already coded and tested), there will be a campaign to get all students to go through the verification process.  They will be notified via e-mail and via a portal announcement.  They can use the portal of a mobile app to accomplish the verification.


We believe that this will help us to confirm that the SSNs are accurate.


Hope this gives you some ideas.



This was a topic recently discussed at our ERP group steering committee.

Here is some recent guidance that we received from our FinAid office:

 "SSNs initially populate in the system based on the CommonApp, although it is not a mandatory item. The law states a college cannot require a SSN for an admissions decision, but then we are bound by other laws to collect missing SSNs from enrolled students."

Based on this info, we are taking steps to incorporate SSN collection/verification as a required item during our orientation data collection process.

Hope this helps.....


Jake Holmquist
Director of Information Technology Services

Riverdale, NY 10471
Phone: 718-862-7449
Fax: 718-862-8024


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