Verification of Student Identity for Online/Distance Learning

Effective Date May 17, 2016 Policy Owner Vice President for Information Technology and CIO
Last Reviewed Date July 1, 2024 Approved By President's Council
Review Cycle Annual Policy Contact Information Security & Compliance Analyst


The policy and procedures below are designed to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), concerning verification of student identify in distance learning or online learning.


The policy applies to all domestic (U.S. based) students in all credit-bearing, online/distance education courses offered by New York Institute of Technology, beginning with the application for admission and continuing through a student's graduation, transfer or withdrawal from the college. All methods of verifying the student's identity must protect the privacy of the student.


All credit-bearing courses and programs offered through online learning or distance education must verify that the student who register for an online or distance education course or program is the same student that participates and completes the course to receive academic credit.


Online Learning/Distance Education

The verification of a student's identity begins at the time of admission and the first course registration. After a student has been through the admission process and is accepted to attend, Information Technology Services is responsible for creating secure, unique login and password for the accepted student using a FERPA compliant procedure.

Both the New York Tech Office of Admissions and the New York Tech Office of the Registrar maintain student biographic, demographic, admission and enrollment records in the New York Tech Student Information System (SIS). This authoritative data is replicated into the New York Tech Identity Management system (IDM), which creates LDAP authentication records in addition to authorization, controls in the New York Tech hosted Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS). Access to the LMS requires valid LDAP credentials in addition to an official class registration.

All sensitive data, including FERPA-governed and enrollment related records, are presented to students via encrypted transport methods, predominantly HTTPS. Access to such information requires valid LDAP credentials, in addition to authorization controls within the LMS and/or SIS. As noted, authorization controls are primarily dictated by enrollment records within the SIS.

When a student first logs in, they are prompted to set up security questions that allow electronic retrieval of their password if the student forgets their password. Students may reset their password by visiting the password reset link in the New York Tech Portal, The full procedure and password specifications are contained therein.

If a student cannot recall the answer to their security questions, they are required to submit valid photo identification to the ITS Help Desk or New York Tech Enrollment Services Center to reset their password.

Students are responsible for maintaining the security of their login information and password. This information may not be shared or given to anyone other than the person to whom they were assigned. Users are responsible for any use and activity of their account.

All students taking online courses are using Canvas, New York Tech's course management system, which requires secure usernames and passwords.

New York Tech's distance learning classrooms use video conferencing technologies to deliver instruction. This technology provides visual identification as well as the secure user name and passwords.

All methods of verifying student identity in distance learning protect the privacy of student information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The privacy of students who enroll in online courses at New York Tech is protected under the institution's policies regarding student privacy.

New York Tech does not charge a fee for student identity verification. Students would be notified of additional fees, if any, prior to and during the registration process through various publications i.e., New York Tech Catalog, and on the New York Tech website.