Information for VET students

The Victorian Student Number (VSN) is a student identification number that will be assigned by the Department of Education and Training to all students in government and non-government schools, and students in Vocational Education and Training Providers. The number, which is unique to each student, will be used as a key identifier on a student’s records, and will remain with the student throughout his or her education, until reaching the age of 25. The VSN is nine digits long, randomly assigned, and tied to identifying information about the student (name, gender, date of birth).

The introduction of the VSN will provide the capability to accurately detect patterns of student movement through, and departure from, the Victorian education and training system. It will greatly improve the collection and analysis of timely and accurate data about education in Victoria.

Why do students need to have a VSN?

In a large and diverse education system such as Victoria's, a standard, centrally assigned student number is the best way to identify individual students. Using a reference number to collect and store data helps avoid the errors and confusion when names are misspelled, changed, or mistaken for other similar names.

Most Australian states either have, or are intending to introduce a student number, and the practice is common in many other countries, including New Zealand and Canada.

When will students need their VSN?

Students will need their VSN to enrol at a Victorian School or if they enrol in any government funded or in any fee-for service accredited qualification/course at a VET Provider i.e. TAFEs, Registered Training Organisation (RTOs), or Adult and Community Education (ACE) provider.  A question to supply the VSN is part of the standard enrolment forms at schools and VET Providers.

How will I know my VSN?

If you have attended a Victorian School any time from 2010 onwards, the VSN will be recorded on common school communications, such as enrolment confirmations and report cards.

VET Providers will be making the VSN available to attending students through a variety of means, as appropriate to their individual systems and processes.

Why does the government need information on students?

The Department collects information to track improvements made to the education system, to identify areas that require further improvement, and to analyse trends and identify future needs. The VSN will improve the accuracy, reliability and completeness of this information, providing a better basis for assessing needs and developing policies and programs to meet the identified needs. The improved quality of information will also result in more accurate reporting to the community on the state’s education system.

Will the privacy of personal information be protected?

Yes, security is built in to the VSN system and the number itself. The student records maintained in the VSN system contain minimal information about each student – name, date of birth, and gender.  For VET enrolments, the month of training commencement and exit month are recorded. The VSN system is not a collection point for other student data such as academic achievements and outcomes, health or welfare information. Because the number is randomly assigned, personal information about the student cannot be inferred from it.

Access to the data in the VSN system is strictly limited, and the database itself will be maintained in a fully secure environment. The information will be used only for educational purposes and the ways in which the VSN can be used are prescribed by legislation. The legislation also includes criminal offences for use of the data for other than the prescribed purposes. Commonwealth and State Privacy Principles have also been used to guide the design of the VSN system.

Are students entitled to see the information stored about them on the VSN system?

Yes. The system will not change the rules governing access to and disclosure of personal information and protection of privacy.

What do education and training providers think of the new system?

Schools, other education organisations and education experts have been regularly consulted during the development and design of the VSN. Care has been taken to minimise the administrative demands that the VSN places on education and training providers. There has been broad support from the education sector in general, for the introduction of the VSN.

What information is available for students?

A summary description of the VSN is available to students.

The Information for Students brochure provides more detailed information on VSN. This is also available in 10 different languages other than English.

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