Update Feb 2015: If you’d like more up to date information about how the USI process works in the onCourse RTO Student Management Software, including detailed screenshots of the student portal, please read the Unique Student Identifiers (USI) chapter of our user handbook.

Posted October 2014

Ensuring your RTO complies with the January 1 2015 Unique Student Identifier (USI) Initiative is on everyone’s to do list this month.

Since August 2013, onCourse has been USI reporting ready with the AVETMISS 7 reporting field available in onCourse.

Now that the USI issuing and verification system is live, we can add the finishing touches to the integration between the onCourse SMS and the USI Registry System to make meeting the new requirements as painless as possible for you and your students.

As an RTO, your minimum requirements are to collect and verify the USI of all students who wish to be issued with a Statement of Attainment or Qualification.

To be able to acheive this you will need to do the following:

  1. Ensure you have an Administrator AusKey from the Australian Business Register. If you deal with the ATO or Centrelink electronically your organisation probably already has one of these.

  2. Submit the USI System Access Form. Select both options for access - USI Website AND webservices.

  3. Send your device AusKey to ish so we can upload it to your onCourse web server to enable the automatic connection between your onCourse database and the USI verification system.

How will onCourse enable USI compliance?

Our primary goal is to make obtaining and verifying USIs the responsibility of the enrolling student to minimise the data entry and management effort required by your office staff.

We know that many organisations who use onCourse deliver a mix of accredited (VET) and non-accredited training, and that the USI requirements will not apply to their non-accredited students. We also know that some 75% of students who have ever enrolled via onCourse either have enrolled online or have provided an email address during the enrolment process, so can receive emails from us and access websites to complete web forms.

First of all, when a student enrols in a course which is identified as a VET course, their enrolment confirmation will include some additional text explaining what a USI is and why they need to tell you theirs. This email directs them to a special onCourse portal page (no log in required) requesting they supply their USI or go through the process to create one.

Most students will be going through the process of creating a new USI. Once they complete this part of the process, we will then take that new USI and verify it against their first name, last name and date of birth as supplied on enrolment. If the USI doesn’t validate (possibly because the student used a dummy date of birth on enrolment, or a shortened version of their first name) then they will be prompted to update the incorrect data in onCourse to match their USI, so we can pass the USI validation process.

Every Monday morning, all recently enrolled VET students who have not supplied you with their USI will be sent an automatic reminder email on how to complete this process and why it is important they do so. There is a customisable template and script that runs this process which you can edit to meet your preferred business requirements.

A student who doesn’t complete this process or can not validate their USI will be flagged in onCourse for you to follow up.

What about students who can't complete the online process to obtain a USI?

Alternatively, you may need to undertake the creation and validation process on behalf of the student. On the student record AVETMISS tab you will see the USI field now has an additional option next to it that says ‘create a USI’. Once you enter a 10 character USI, the verification process will run automatically in the background. If the USI verifies, then there is nothing more for you to do. If the verification returns an error, you can edit the non-matching data (first name, last name or date of birth) and try again.

Once a USI is verified, the student record in onCourse can’t have their first name, last name or date of birth changed without verifying the USI agency has the updated change as well, so your onCourse data and the USI agency data for a student will remain in sync.

As you are not allowed to issue certifications to students without a USI, the onCourse certificate print process now includes an additional validation check. If your certificate record was created after 1/1/2015, it will not print unless the student has a verified USI in onCourse. Certificates created prior to 2015 will continue to be printable without a USI. Additional access control levels have been added to allow you to override this print control for selected users.

Don’t have the onCourse Student Management System and need a real time USI compliant solution? The good people at ish would be happy to help you out. Visit us at www.ish.com.au or contact us at info@ish.com.au or on (02) 9550 5001.