Which problem is MyAcademicID solving?

MyAcademicID is building an infrastructure to implement the European Commission objective to “enable every student to easily and safely identify and register themselves electronically at higher education institutions within Europe when moving abroad for studies, eliminating the need to complete onsite registration procedures and paperwork”. The use of the Erasmus Without Paper network will become obligatory according to the below milestones:

  • 2021 – to manage online learning agreements
  • 2022 – to manage inter-institutional agreements
  • 2023 – to exchange student nominations and acceptances and transcripts of records related to student mobility

What are the key objectives of MyAcademicID?

MyAcademicID aims at developing a European Student eID scheme for Higher Education. This will allow students to easily identify and authenticate to access electronic student services through a single sign-on. The services which are foreseen to be using this authentication and identification solution by 2020/21 are the Online Learning Agreement and the Erasmus+ mobile App

What is eduGAIN?

eduGAIN is a global infrastructure that connects national identity federations that are operated in the Higher Education sector around the world. Via eduGAIN students can login at their own university and access all services and resources available via eduGAIN. eduGAIN comprises over 60 participant federations worldwide.

What is the eIDAS regulation?

The eIDAS regulation is a European Commission regulation that specifies the “conditions under which Member States recognise electronic identification”, and “rules for trust services, in particular for electronic transactions”, as well as “legal framework for electronic signatures, electronic seals…”. Read more on the eIDAS regulation here. MyAcademicID focuses on the re-use of eIDs issued by member states (in the context of the eIDAS regulation) for the activation of services in the European higher education community.

How is the eIDAS regulation applied in MyAcademicID?

The consortium partners have built upon past and ongoing work analysing how the eIDAS regulation can be best applied for the higher education community. The complementarity between the eIDAS regulation and existing initiatives (eduGAIN, European Student Card, Erasmus Without Paper) has been confirmed through the technical blueprint approved by the consortium partners. The blueprint architecture foresees a proxy able to enable Student mobility services to consume eIDAS eIDs and to link these with student accounts.

What is the European Student Identifier?

The European Student Identifier (ESI) is a digital identifier enabling students to uniquely identify students when they access student mobility services online; the ESI supports and eases international student mobility and trans-national cooperation of higher education institutions. Please note that the MyAcademicID team revisited the format of the previous ESI (developed by the and the European Student Card Project) and published the new ESI format specifications with the aim to better support online flows. Higher education institutions using the previous ESI format specifications for issuing European Student Cards will be able to continue doing so for this purpose, while adopting the new ESI format specifications for the identity federation and Erasmus services.

Are there two versions of the European Student Identifier (ESI) now? Why? And which one do I need for Erasmus Services?

The European Student Card (ESC) project did pilot the initial version of the ESI. The MyAcademicID project partners have considered the use cases and requirements for such an identifier and agreed upon new specifications for the ESI to make it future-proof and speed-up uptake by the higher education community. The specifications of this new ESI format are defined in the blueprint architecture document and are the ones to be used for the Erasmus services. The platform implementing the ESC agreed to strive for the adoption of the new format after going through a transition phase. Eventually, higher education institutions will be asked to issue only one identifier per student for the different platforms/networks.

How can I issue European Student Identifiers for my students?

The European Student Identifier (ESI) format has been released in the blueprint architecture document. The European Student Identifier is based on the student identifiers that you are already using for your students in your HEI. You need to contact the department(s) responsible for the student account and the internal transfer desks at your HEI and inform them about the need to use ESI in the Information System(s) of your HEI. By exposing the European Student Identifier as an attribute in the eduGAIN federation. Students will then be able to share their European Student Identifier with online services they are authenticating on.

As a student do I need to know/remember my European Student Identifier?

No need for that. The ESI is generated electronically and maintained by your own university.

How will all this work in practice?

Students will easily authenticate themselves to Erasmus services using their eIDs and/or their institutional credentials, without having to create new account credentials. Information systems from higher education institutions and student service providers will verify the identity of the students as well as their academic affiliation in an automated way therefore decreasing workload on staff and increasing time availability of staff members to counsel (international) students.

Can we compare MyAcademicID results with Google login?

MyAcademicID enables more ways for students to login. With MyAcademicID, students can use their institutional accounts in the context of the Erasmus Services and link them with their Google accounts and national eIDs, if they wish to do so. This enables the use of academic attributes, such as the European Student Identifier and the Student Affiliation, which are key for the digitisation of the student mobility process.

My institution is not part of eduGAIN, how can our students still use Erasmus service?

If this is the case please contact your Research and Education Identity Federation. Students can still authenticate using Google login as an alternative. The project partners are working in a follow-up project on a fall back option to provide institutions an alternative way of enabling such institutional accounts in case they are not able to join the eduGAIN federation via their national Research and Education Identity Federation.

Who are the partners of MyAcademicID?

The partners of MyAcademicID represent the European higher education community at large (higher education institutions, student service providers, higher education technology providers) and public authorities from member states. Most of the partners are active contributors to projects operating under the European Student Card initiative of the European Commission. The full list of partners can be found here.

What are the main deliverables of MyAcademicID?

MyAcademicID main deliverables are:

  • Blueprint architecture document informing further technical development
  • Authentication proxy for student mobility services
  • Technical bridge between the eIDAS environment and the eduGAIN federation

What are the standards that are set by MyAcademicID?

MyAcademicID blueprint architecture is technology neutral. However we are aware that the technologies for federated identity management in use to date are largely built on SAML and OIDC. Both are well-known standards. The revision of the European Student Identifier was done in a such a way to ensure convergence between the different initiatives included under the European Student Card initiative as well as with solutions already in use among the universities. For this reason MyAcademicID consortium chose SCHAC schema as the mean to transport the ESI.

What happens when MyAcademicID project ends?

MyAcademicID is a project that was funded by the Connecting Europe Facility programme. Additional funding to further deploy and enhance MyAcademicID platform has been secured thanks to a follow up project.

We have a national student eID and at the same time our higher education institutions issue an extra eID even sometimes at faculty level. What eID shall be used for the European Student Identifier?

It is up to each country/institution to decide which student eID they use to issue the European Student Identifier. In the event you decide to use the national student eID, the European Student Identifier format is simplified since no SCHAC code will be required to guarantee the uniqueness of the eID. In the event you decide to use an eID that is issued at faculty level, you need to be able to guarantee that the eID is unique and persistent at the level of your institution since otherwise two students might get the same identifier. The specifications of the European Student Identifier are available here.

What is the SCHAC code?

The SCHAC code is the top website domain name of your institution for exemple Ghent University holds ugent.be as a schac code. The SCHAC code has been already successfully used by other networks like eduGAIN (schacHomeOrganization) and aims at making sure that each institutions using platforms under the European Student Card initiative is uniquely identified. Please note that in case an institution is part of a grouping of education institutions, a subdomain may be used to uniquely identify your institution.

How do I know if my institution has a SCHAC code?

If your institution has an institutional website, then your institution also holds a SCHAC code (see question ‘What is the SCHAC code?’). You may check whether your institution has already been connected to the Erasmus Without Paper network here and therefore identified with a SCHAC code.

My institution is already using eduGAIN, how do we get started?

To get started with issuing the European Student Identifier, please read the European Student Identifier specifications and read more on how to release the identifier through eduGAIN here.

Who is implementing the European Student Identifier?

The European Student Identifier is already supported by the Erasmus Services. Currently, the European Student Identifier is being implemented in HEIs across Europe. HEIs, which have already implemented the European Student Identifier, can use it to uniquely identify their users in the Erasmus Services.

What happens when the Student changes his Home Organization, or even studies in a different country? The ESI would change then in some cases?

The rule is that the European Student Identifier is issued by the higher education institution where students are initially enrolled for their studies. Hence, if a student decides to enrol in another institution for studies (without proceeding through a mobility arrangement) then there is a high likelihood that the student will also receive a new identifier. In the context of nationally issued student eIDs, the change only arises when changing country.

My institution is not on the list of institutions of Erasmus Without Paper, how can we join?

If your institution is not listed in the Erasmus Without Paper coverage matrix, it means that your institution did not yet decide to activate the connection to the network. Depending on your situation, you will either connect your own information systems directly to the network, or ask your software provider to do so, or use the cloud-based platform to do so. In any case, more information can be found in the Erasmus Without Paper competence centre.

How is the European Student Identifier linked with the European Student Card (issued in the context of the European Student Card project)?

Each Higher Education Institution issues both the identifier and the card (physical or virtual). The identifier is made available by the institutions for the Erasmus services via eduGAIN and Erasmus Without Paper.