It’s been six weeks since the mandatory USI (Unique Student Identifier) collection process began for most of our RTO customers and we have been getting lots of very useful feedback on how the processes and validation systems and software are working for RTOs of all shapes and sizes.

Admittedly most of the USI feedback we are hearing is along the lines of “arrgh! why on earth did they come up with this time consuming requirement for non government funded short course enrolments?”. Thankfully all the onCourse specific related feedback has been around the automated emails and portal working really well at minimising the admin effort for the office staff for creating and verifying the student’s USI.

I thought I’d put together some FAQs regarding our most common support requests as well as giving everyone a heads up on further USI process improvements coming your way. Please ask anything else you’d like to know about the USI process, or improvements you’d like to see us make as a comment to this forum post.

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 or contact us at or on (02) 9550 5001.

This is part 1. The USI verification process. See also Part 2. USI emails and reminder processes.

Why are all my USIs failing to verify with the error message saying the USI agency can’t be contacted? For all the customers that followed the instructions we provided late last year about creating an AUSKey, sending it to us to upload to your server and completing the USI Agency Access request form, it seems the last step went pear shaped for some and the AUSKey wasn’t linked to your RTO Id, making the whole automatic verification process fail.

Complete the System Access Request Form again and wait for an approval email before trying to verify USIs.

How do I make the USI validation process run in onCourse? When onCourse detects you have entered a USI in the USI field on the Student VET tab, it will check that you have an RTO ID entered in your general preferences, and a First Name, Last Name and Date of Birth entered in the student record. If all these fields are complete, the USI Validation process will run automatically in the background.

If it fails, and you need to change some of the data to make it try again, make the change, click out of the field (use tab on your keyboard, or click into any other field) and the process will run again. If you don’t need to change any data, just click in the USI field and click out and it will try again. You can do this as many times as you like - the validation check is quite fast, less than 3 seconds in most instances, and there is no limit to the number of times you can try to validate a USI.

How can I test that my onCourse USI portal access is working as required? Go and create yourself a USI. Then you can use your own details to create a new student contact and test the USI verification. Try without a date of birth or misspelled name to see the error responses you’ll get in onCourse. You can discard the contact instead of saving it onCourse after sufficiently testing the verification process.

What should I do when the student has created their USI in a name different to the name they enrolled with? Commonly, students will enrol with the name they prefer to use e.g. Bob rather than Robert, but their USI will be issued in their legal name. When you try to verify the USI they supply against their name, an error will be returned telling you that the first name (or last name, or date of birth) doesn’t match the USI you supplied. In that case, you can change the data in onCourse and the verification process will automatically run again.

If the student uses the USI portal to supply you with their USI, then they can correct their name spelling themselves. You might need to call the student to get their correct name spelling if you are collecting and verifying USIs via an office based process.

Of course, we have also had instances of students whose name is spelt incorrectly on their ID and therefore the name linked to their USI has the wrong spelling, or students who have enrolled using a married name, when the ID they used to create their USI was in their maiden name. You’d need to enter their name into onCourse as an exact match as their USI name to make it validate, but you probably don’t want to do this as then their certificate will be issued in the wrong name too. For the time being, leave it as an invalid USI.

In these instances you need to get the student to log into their own USI Agency Portal and make the change there, and advise you once this has been done. Then you can try the validation process again, and it should pass with the right spelling.

I’ve been entering student middle names into their first name field and now the USIs won’t validate We are in the process of adding a new field for middle names in the next release of onCourse as the first name field has to contain only the student’s legal first name to validate their USI.

I’ve validated a USI, so locked the student name record in onCourse, but now I need to change it. How? Coming soon, to an onCourse release near you. We’re building an unlock feature, that will let you make the change and re-validate the USI. Remember that the change you make has to match the USI Agency record to validate again, so the student must have logged in made the change in their USI Portal first.

How can I find out which students USIs have failed to pass validation in onCourse? In the contact advanced search options, you can search for USI status = not verified. You can then work through the list of returned to results to check the error messages, contact the students and make the appropriate changes. As you change the data, the verification process will run again.

So now you have been using it for a few weeks, what else would you like the onCourse verification process to do?