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Student Authentication Protocols

This is a process for all students who have at any time been enrolled at Suffolk County Community College. It is intended for use by College employees to carry out their responsibilities in accordance with the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) and College policies protecting and safeguarding the privacy of education records and personally identifiable information from the same. Communication with students via telephone, email, or audio-only web-conferencing is limited to the areas of academic and enrollment assistance. Topics involving in-depth personal matters should not be entertained and, instead, should be referred to the appropriate office.

Over the Phone Verification:

Please see the following steps to authenticate a student’s identity prior to engaging in a conversation about their enrollment at Suffolk. Please be aware that it is never acceptable to ask for or disclose a student’s SSN (in whole or part). The best place to view a student’s record is the unofficial transcript found in Self Service Banner. This document will provide academic and enrollment information, and will also provide demographic information when you click on the student’s name.    

Step One- Ask the student to confirm at least 2 of the following data elements:

  1. Address
  2. Phone Number(s)
  3. Email Address(es)
  4. Program of Study or Degree Earned
  5. Semesters or Dates Enrolled

Step Two- Ask the student to provide information on at least two of the following items:

  1. Name a class you took in ___ (add term)
  2. Name a class you dropped or withdrew from in ___ (add term)
  3. Name an instructor for one of your classes from the previous academic year.
  4. Name a class you took and the grade you received
  5. Share your current cumulative GPA

At this point, if the student accurately provides the above information, you may confirm the student’s Suffolk County Community College ID # or birth date.

Please observe the following limitations when you are speaking to a student over the phone. You may not:

  • Update student information (instead, email the information update form to their College email address, with directions on how to return it for processing)
  • Perform any transactions for a student (direct the students to how to initiate/perform the transaction themselves in MySuffolk County Community College or via College email)
  • Disclose a social security number, bank account number, or credit card number (ever!)
  • Disclose grades (direct them to Blackboard, MySuffolk County Community College, College email)
  • Disclose medical or health information (generally, only Health Services, Disability Services, Mental Health Services, or the Office of the Campus Associate Dean of Student Services should be engaging in discussions with students about their protected health information, and even then, only as appropriate for the role of each office and in accordance with College policies)

Email Verification

Staff can respond to a student at their Suffolk County Community College email address and provide information to the student regarding their educational record. Information should be kept to a minimum, whenever possible. When feasible, advise the student to access their information through MySuffolk County Community College, and then provide clarification to the information the student has accessed.  The opening statement in the email must include, “Suffolk County Community College is communicating with you via your official Suffolk County Community College email account, based upon the belief that you are the student.”

College-Initiated Web Conferencing

Only College-authorized web conferencing platforms (i.e. Microsoft Teams, College-licensed Zoom) should be used to initiate web conference sessions with an individual student about their academic or enrollment status. Invitations should be sent only to the student’s official Suffolk County Community College email account. When initiating the session, if using video conferencing, visually confirm the identity of the student and ask for picture ID. If the student is not using video conferencing that allows you to visually confirm their identity, follow the multi-step authentication protocol outlined above. In either instance, before discussing FERPA-protected information, ask the student if they are in a setting that permits you to discuss their academic and enrollment information (i.e. their audio settings are appropriate, and they are in a location where they are comfortable discussing the information).

In-Person Verification for Student Transactions (i.e. registration, financial aid processing)

If the student arrives without their physical ID card, you may utilize an alternate picture ID (see list below), or you may look up their photo ID in MySuffolk County Community College. (This will eliminate sending students to Registrar for verification.) Always take the opportunity to remind students that College policy dictates that they carry their Suffolk County Community College ID card at all times.

  • Alternate forms of ID include:
    • An unexpired United States passport or U.S. passport card
    • An unexpired foreign passport
    • An unexpired driver’s license or non-driver ID card issued by New York State or another state within the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or by the outlying possessions of the United States
    • A current U.S. Military ID card, such as the Common Access Card or the Uniformed Services ID card
    • A current U.S. permanent resident card (also known as a green card)
    • A naturalization card or certificate of citizenship with name and photograph
    • An employment authorization document (EAD) issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    • A Tribal ID card with name and photograph
    • Other valid (unexpired) photo ID issued by state or government agencies of the United States.

Communication Plan

  • Discuss new protocols with Campus Associate Deans of Students
  • Send a College Brief describing the new procedure.
  • Presentation to each campus division meeting that we are allowed to conduct business with students in this way.
  • Presentation at college-wide meeting
  • Put the protocol on the portal within academic and employee so staff are clearly are aware of the protocols
  • Place in Share Point for all to view
  • Design flyers and cards to distribute to all offices. Flyers can be placed in support staff offices and cards that can be placed next to the phones.

SUNY Online Help Desk

For help using Blackboard, please call the SUNY Online Help Desk at 1-844-673-6786 (option 1) or submit a ticket.


Suffolk Help

For assistance with any of the issues below, please go to Suffolk Help and submit a ticket in the appropriate section.

  • Reporting problems with Blackboard
  • Authorizing department chair observations
  • Removing bumped instructors
  • Merging cross-listed courses
  • Enrolling users