Usage of Social Security Numbers
The purpose of this policy is to promote an understanding of the procedure to ensure the privacy and proper handling of social security numbers and other personal information of students, prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other persons officially associated with Delta State University.
In the normal practice of conducting university business, DSU collects and maintains confidential information related to its students, employees, alumni, and other individuals associated with DSU. Delta State University (DSU) is committed to protecting personal information and to deterring identity theft.
University administrator/officer: A person with responsibility for issues having broad-based policy implications for students, faculty, and staff in the college/unit; a Dean, Director or similar position.
Electronic Communications: The use of computers and network systems in the communicating or posting of information or material by way of electronic mail, bulletin boards, or other such electronic tools.
University Computers and Network Systems (University Systems): Computers, networks, servers, and other similar devices that are administered by the university and for which the university is responsible. Throughout this policy, the shortened term "university systems" is used to mean all university computers and network systems.
SSN – Social Security Number
The collecting of social security numbers (SSNs) is required of all employees of the university, all tuition-paying students, students receiving financial aid, and other individuals for which state and federal law require the reporting of SSNs. If there is no legal requirement to collect a SSN from a particular individual, DSU will not require such an individual to provide their SSN and will not deny any service as a consequence. DSU will not disclose the social security number of any individual to anyone outside the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) system except as allowed by law or with permission from the individual or as approved by DSU legal counsel.
- DSU Identifier: (900#) As of August 10, 2005, SSN’s are no longer used as the primary identifier of individuals associated with DSU. DSU issues a unique, nine-digit number (the DSU ID number) to every student, employee, alumnus, and other person within DSU computerized record systems.
- Collection of SSN. DSU will continue to collect SSNs as permitted by law for official use within the Mississippi IHL system. Social security numbers will be released to entities outside the Mississippi IHL system only: (1) as allowed by law; or (2) when permission is granted by the individual; or (3) when DSU’s legal counsel has approved the release. As permitted by law, DSU can release SSNs to an external entity when it is acting as DSU’s contractor or agent and has proper safeguards in place to prevent unauthorized release or discovery by third parties.
- Delta State will no longer use the SSN as an alternate means of identification for ID lookups.
- Oversight of Usage of SSN. The Information Technology Governance Committee in collaboration with the Director of Human Resources will name the social security officer and will oversee the security of the data within the DSU computer systems and will make day-to-day decisions to implement SSN usage policies. Policy changes and interpretation of policy will be recommended by the Information Technology Governance Committee working jointly with the Director of Human Resources.
- Access to SSN Information. Only approved university employees, including approved student workers and approved graduate assistants, will have access to SSN data. In order to be authorized to view and use electronic SSN data, approval must be obtained with copies of such authorization sent to the social security officer. Justification should be included as to why an individual needs access to the data. For access to paper copies of documents that contain social security information, each person requiring such access should have on record within the department or unit a signed statement of confidentiality.
Transmission of SSN in Electronic Data Files. Social security numbers will be transmitted electronically off the campus system only through encrypted mechanisms, unless otherwise approved by the Information Technology Governance Committee.
- Retention and/or Disposal of Documents containing SSNs. All essential documents containing SSNs, both paper and electronic, will be stored in a secure fashion. Non-essential documents will be destroyed in a secure fashion.
- Form Approval and Disclosures. All university forms and documents that ask an individual to provide his or her SSN must have prior approval of the Director of Human Resources. All forms must use disclosure language substantially similar to the language below.
a. Applicants to DSU for Enrollment. In the admissions and scholarship selection process, the social security number is used to assist in matching test scores and transcripts of the applicants. The social security number is not a permanent student identifier, and it will not be required for student identification purposes. You will be issued a permanent DSU ID number (900#) which will serve as your unique identifier on campus. DSU will not disclose the social security number of any applicant to anyone outside the Mississippi IHL system except as allowed by law or with permission from the individual or as approved by DSU legal counsel.
b. Students. The social security number is not a permanent student identifier, and it will not be required for student identification purposes. A student receives a permanent DSU ID number (900#) which serves as his/her unique identifier on campus. DSU must report names and social security numbers to the IRS for every tuition-paying student. The Department of Financial Aid also has reporting requirements in which social security numbers must be supplied. If any student receives compensation from the university because of employment or other reasons, federal law requires that we report to the IRS that compensation along with the recipient's social security number. DSU will not disclose the social security number of any student to anyone outside the Mississippi IHL system except as allowed by law or with permission from the individual or as approved by DSU legal counsel.
c. Employees. Delta State University is required by federal law to report all compensation of employees, along with their name and social security number, to federal and state agencies, e.g. the IRS. The social security number of an employee is not used as the primary identifier of the employee; a university-issued DSU ID number is used as the primary identifier for the employee. DSU will not disclose the social security number of any employee to anyone outside the Mississippi IHL system except as allowed by law or with permission from the individual or as approved by DSU legal counsel.
d. Others Associated with the University. For individuals who are receiving any compensation, Delta State University is required by federal law to report the compensation, along with their name and social security number, to the IRS, and therefore such individuals are required to supply their SSNs. The social security numbers of these other associated persons are not used as the primary identifiers in the DSU system; a university-issued DSU ID number is used as the primary identifier for these individuals. DSU will not disclose the social security number of any individual to anyone outside the Mississippi IHL system except as allowed by law or with permission from the individual or as approved by DSU legal counsel.
Policy Compliance: All DSU employees will abide by the provisions of this policy and will act to ensure the security of SSNs and other confidential information. A violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action and could result in termination of employment.
Questions about this policy may be directed to the Office of Human Resources.