Onyen Policy


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Onyen Policy



The Onyen ("Only Name You'll Ever Need") is a unique identifier given to everyone affiliated with the University. The Onyen gives each person secure access to electronic resources and proves their identity if they follow this policy.


Anyone who is authorized to have an Onyen.


Policy Statement

The Onyen is the University's main technical identifier for verifying identity and will be used when possible.

The Onyen Policy consists of these pillars:

  1. UNC-Chapel Hill gives an identifier called an Onyen to most people associated with the University. Faculty, staff, students, and others use the Onyen to access the University’s electronic resources. The Onyen is unique to each person and linked to the person’s Personal Identification Number (PID).
  2. Since each Onyen is specific to a person, no person will use (try to log in with) another person’s Onyen or share their Onyen password with someone else. IT staff will never ask for a person’s Onyen password.
  3. A person’s affiliation with the University determines whether they can have an active Onyen. (See “Related Documents” for more information on the types of affiliation.) A person's Onyen becomes inactive when they are no longer affiliated with the University. The following three examples give more detail about when staff, faculty, and student Onyens expire.
    • For SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty staff and other University affiliates, Onyens and access to University computing resources end as soon as the person is no longer employed by or affiliated with the University.
    • Faculty members’ Onyens and access to University computing resources end 60 days after the faculty member is no longer employed by or affiliated with the University.
    • Students' Onyens stay active at least 180 days after their affiliation ends. The dates for graduation change from year to year, so student’s Onyens expire based on this schedule:
      Onyen Expiration Schedule
      Exit or Graduation Date Onyen will Expire
      Spring Graduation or Exit during Spring Semester December 1 of same year
      Summer Graduation or Exit During Summer Sessions March 1 of following year
      Fall Graduation or Exit during Fall Semester July 1 of following year
  4. If a person has more than one affiliation, their Onyen is active if one of their affiliations is eligible for an active Onyen. For example, let’s say that someone is both a staff member and a student and they leave employment. Their student affiliation keeps their Onyen active.  

Note: If the University has an operational need, it may be necessary to stop a person’s Onyen access before the schedules above. 

If a University department has a business need for someone to access University computing resources after their affiliation ends, the department may work with their Human Resources representative to find options. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Everyone eligible for an Onyen: Obtain only one Onyen and keep it secure. As a condition of being given access to University services via the Onyen, you: 

  1. are responsible for any activity with your Onyen account. 
  2. are responsible for how you use your access including any information you give to others. 
  3. agree to use your access in a way that follows all applicable laws and University policies. 
  4. agree not to use your access to disrupt the business of UNC-Chapel Hill. 
  5. agree to use your Onyen to access only the systems you are authorized to access. 
  6. agree to keep your Onyen and password secure. 
  7. understand that UNC- Chapel Hill officials or others authorized by existing law, regulation, and policy may review any information you have accessed using your Onyen. 
  8. understand that UNC-Chapel Hill will not ask for your Onyen and password by email (and you will not give it to anyone by email). 
  9. agree to immediately report it if you suspect your Onyen is compromised. 

Information Technology Staff: Ensure that the way your systems verify who the person is and what data they have access to follows this policy. Manage Onyens according to this policy. 


Some systems allow a person (often an administrator) to use an ID other than their Onyen. Such use does not violate this policy as long as the use is authorized, limited in time and scope, and used only for the intended business purpose. 

The Chief Information Officer may authorize creation or assignment of an Onyen on a temporary basis to handle unexpected problems. The CIO must document the date and purpose for making an exception of this kind. 


  • Onyen - The "Only Name You'll Ever Need." UNC-Chapel Hill's campus-wide identifier used to access electronic resources. Available to faculty, staff, students, and some others affiliated with the University, each Onyen is unique to a single person and linked to their Personal Identification Number (PID). Each Onyen has a password, which allows access to systems the University provides. 
  • Personal Identification Number (PID) - An identification number assigned to everyone with certain kinds of University relationships, as defined by an official University department. Each PID is unique to a person at UNC-Chapel Hill. The PID is the primary key for record keeping for all departments within the University. 
  • Affiliation - UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, students, retirees, contractors, distance learners, visiting scholars, and others who require University resources to work with UNC-Chapel Hill are “affiliated.”

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

Not following this policy may put University information assets at risk and may have disciplinary consequences for employees, up to and including termination of employment. Students who do not adhere to this policy may be referred to the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Student Conduct. Contractors, vendors, and others who do not adhere to this policy may face termination of their business relationships with UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Violating this policy also carries the risk of civil or criminal penalties. 

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Information for students on losing access to accounts and data when their Onyens expire:

Contact Information

Contact Information Table
Subject Contact Telephone Online
Policy Questions Information Technology Services 919-962-HELP help.unc.edu
Report a Violation Information Technology Services 919-962-HELP N/A

Document History

  • Effective Date and title of Approver:
    • September 4, 2015.
    • Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO
  • Revision and Review Dates, Change notes, title of Reviewer or Approver:
    • 7/28/2016
    • Revised expiration schedule, revised for clarity
    • VC for Information Technology and CIO
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Article ID: 131255
Thu 4/8/21 9:04 PM
Thu 12/14/23 12:04 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Information Technology Services
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
12/13/2026 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
12/13/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
10/13/2022 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
10/13/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
09/04/2015 12:00 AM