Last update: November 23, 2017

Effective May 11, 2016, embedded meaning will be removed from UBC student numbers. This means that it will no longer be possible to infer the first year of registration or application year from the sixth and seventh digits of a UBC student number. In order ensure this information remains accessible, new data fields will be added in the Student Information Service Centre (SISC).

On this page:

Embedded meaning

UBC student numbers are comprised of eight digits:

  • The first five digits are the learner identifier.
  • The sixth and seventh digits have embedded meaning. These two digits are either the first year a student registered, or the year an applicant applied.
  • The eighth digit is the check sum. It is used by partner institutions to verify that the first seven digits are valid.

After embedded meaning is removed, student numbers will still be comprised of eight digits:

  • The first seven digits are the learner identifier.
  • The eighth digit is the check sum, as before.

Benefits of removing embedded meaning

There are several benefits to removing embedded meaning from the sixth and seventh digits of UBC student numbers, including:

  1. The quantity of student numbers available to be assigned will be increased, and the process of assigning student numbers will be simplified.
  2. Because an applicant may apply more than once in different years, they may be assigned more than one student number. Most SISs are single number systems, which do not assign student numbers each time an individual applies. Removing embedded meaning will bring us in line with industry best practice and prepare us for any future SIS integrations.

Community engagement

Enrolment Services and IT, consulted with more than sixty Academic and Administrative units to uncover any implications that might arise from removing embedded meaning from UBC student numbers. Some of these groups include, Medicine, Dentistry, Sauder, G+PS, Go Global, PAIR and Integrated Reporting. For units seeking further consultation or support, please contact the project team via the contact form.


Phase 1

May 11, 2016:

  • Embedded meaning removed from the sixth and seventh digits of UBC student numbers.
  • Data fields added to SISC to view first registered session.

Phase 2


  • Implement new system to allow for centrally managed, on-demand allocation of student numbers.

Phase 3


  • Move SIS to single number architecture and end the practise of issuing multiple student numbers to a single user.

How to view 'first registered session' details

As of May 11, 2016 there will be two ways to view 'first registered session' details on the SISC.

Option 1: Search by student number

Log into the Student Information Service Centre (SISC) and enter a student number to search for an individual's student record.


After the student record is loaded, click on the individual's name.


The student number, last and first name, and first registered session at UBC will be displayed in a dialogue box.


If the individual has never registered then only their student number and name will appear in the dialogue box.


Option 2: Use SISC Search

Log into the SISC and click on 'Search' on the top right side of the screen to open the searches screen.


Choose either the 'Person Search', 'Student: Basic Search', or 'Student: Program' search. The search results will include a column called a 'First Registered Session at UBC' that displays:

  • The first registered session for individuals who are currently registered or have been registered in past sessions.
  • A blank cell for individuals who have never registered.



If you have any further questions about the removal of embedded meaning from UBC student numbers, please contact us via the online form.

* asterisks denote required fields