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Leiden university

Digital identification of new students

Student life is more than following courses. To get access to all facilities at the university, Leiden University hands out personal LU-Cards to students. But how to do this in a secure, safe and efficient way under Covid? How to remove manual labour from the process? It is this challenge that Leiden University tackled using ReadID.



How students apply for a LU-Card - Previous process

Leiden University welcomes four to five thousand new students every year. In order to give these students access to various facilities and services at the beginning of the academic year, each student must apply for a LU-Card.

The new students will receive a personal LU-Card after application and need to activate the card at a physical counter before they are able to use it.

The application for this card was already digitised. A student uploads their passport photo to the identity & access management system of Leiden University which is processed via the Card Management System. The card is digitally created, and the digital file is sent to a producer to make the physical card. The physical card is then pasted on a letter with accompanying information and sent to the students by post. At that time, the card had not yet been activated.

EASY Onboarding and verification of thousands of new students

The application for a LU-Card by thousands of new students went well and Leiden University was satisfied with the digitisation of this process. The LU-Card was activated via a physical support point. Students visited a counter with their driver's license, passport, or identity card to have their identity checked by a counter employee and thus to have their personal LU-Card activated.

But when COVID changed everyday life, the complete onboarding flow of new students did not run as smoothly as it should. In the first year of COVID, Leiden University was able to manage the challenges by opening a temporary external location where they could comply with the COVID rules and let a stream of thousands of students walk through a sort of card activation street.

However, this was time-consuming, expensive, and intensive for employees. Since the first part of the onboarding flow had already been digitised, the university looked for a solution to digitise the activation and identity verification part as well.

“The full student onboarding has changed to an instant and smooth process. Great for students and employees"

During the search for a solution to replace this physical process with a secure digital process, they learned about ReadID identity verification. Leiden University wanted to be sure that the identity on the LU-Card matched with the holder of the card to activate the personal card.

The digital process to enable the student to activate the LU-Card at home by means of secure remote identity verification was initiated in a quick collaboration, to be ready for the new academic year 2021-2022.

The digital process was set up in a short period of time. Some pressure came into play in July 2021 due to the new influx of students after the summer, but they managed to get the integration complete before September. Leiden University has conducted its own tests of the flow, with the ReadID software and output, results of the chip, cloning detection, and by educating their employees.

Universiteit LeidenThe improved flow with ReadID Ready

A student applies and receives the letter with their personal LU-Card. With a QR code, available on a shared web page that’s in the details of the letter, the student gets access with their smartphone to the app environment and can verify his or her identity document with ReadID Ready. This information is saved to the backend and sent to the mailbox of the physical counter of Leiden University.

An employee does an extra check to see if the information is correct and activates the LU-Card. The student doesn’t have to visit the counter anymore. Students who have non-NFC chipped identity documents or run into other issues can still visit the counter, but the identity verification of Leiden University is changed to remote NFC-first.

The full onboarding has changed to an instant and smooth process. Not only for students but also for employees. The digital identification process is now also used for onboarding university employees.

Neither of them has to wait. This technology relieves the pressure at the counter and is reliable for remote identity verification.

“The activation and identity verification processes are so easy that they can be performed by anyone"

In the future, Leiden University will further optimise its onboarding flow by fully automating the manual check at the counter. The activation and identity verification processes are so easy that they can be performed by anyone with a smartphone and an electronic identity document, new students, or employees, young and old.