The Benefits of Decentralized Identity Solutions for Higher Education

The Benefits of Decentralized Identity Solutions for Higher Education

Though digital transformation has been a priority for higher education institutions for decades, the pandemic forced organizations across the nation to rapidly scale their digital programs. While widespread adoption of digital engagement has opened the doors for remote learning, it’s also exacerbated some longstanding challenges related to security, privacy, and user experience.

To overcome these obstacles, higher education institutions are increasingly pursuing Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) or decentralized identity solutions. SSI solutions leverage distributed ledger (or blockchain) technology so organizations can independently verify students’ personally identifiable information (PII), including address, date of birth, and more, without storing or managing any of their data.

With an SSI solution, a student can selectively share their data based on what is required for a specific transaction – like a financial aid application or a program enrollment. They can also dictate how that data is used and revoke data sharing permission at any time. The organization only has access to the information it needs when it needs it.

By returning control of PII to the student, organizations can strengthen security, reduce the risk of fraud, and deliver a more seamless digital experience.

Reduce Fraud and Data Theft

Because institutions require a variety of information about students when they enroll, apply for financial aid, or access online learning resources, data is not only stored in a central location, but often stored in multiple databases across numerous departments. This treasure trove of data is a prime target for cybercriminals. In fact, 64% of higher education organizations were hit by ransomware in the last year.

With an SSI solution like Voyatek’s Decentralized Identity for Higher Education the institution never needs to store students’ PII. When a student needs to provide information about themselves, they can share only the specific pieces of information required. Their information is validated via a public ledger and shared through unique, tamper-proof communication channels.

Without huge databases of sensitive information, institutions become unattractive targets for hackers and reduce the cost of maintaining and protecting a large quantity of data.

Validate Student Identity Quickly and Securely

Validating student identity in the digital age can be challenging. In many cases, students create usernames and passwords for a variety of portals and then enter their personal information, which is then manually validated by the institution. This type of validation isn’t just time consuming, it’s insecure.  Identity theft and fraudulent financial aid applications surged among higher education institutions over the past two years. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Education warned colleges and universities nationwide after California’s community colleges received 65,000 fraudulent loan applications.

But with SSI solutions – which are built on distributed ledger technology for speed and security – organizations can validate a student’s information in minutes, not days. Credentials are verified when issued and can be trusted indefinitely. Since verification via public ledger makes identity theft virtually impossible, organizations can trust that they’re engaging with the right person, eliminating the need for paperwork or manual verification.

Furthermore, students would no longer have to keep track of dozens of usernames and passwords for different systems. Their digital identity credentials would allow them easy access without constant revalidation.

Promote Equity

Finally, decentralized identity solutions can help reduce bias in admissions processes and improve accessibility. For example, Voyatek’s solution enables students to verify their identity with a variety of credentials, not just government-issued IDs, which improves access for undocumented applications. Furthermore, since identities are validated without revealing or storing any data related to demographics, thus reducing potential bias in application or financial aid processing.

To learn more about Voyatek’s Decentralized Identity for Higher Education, download our flyer.


-John Van Weeren, Principal, Higher Education Solutions, ASR Analytics, LLC, a Voyatek Company