Unity Computing Account Maintenance - Procedures for Student Accounts

Authority: Vice Chancellor for Information Technology
History: First issued in 1993; Last updated May 11, 2015
Scope: All NC State students

Description of service

All registered NC State students automatically receive University computing accounts. At a minimum, students receive Unity computing accounts, which provide access to the resources in the campus-wide academic computing realm and many other computing and online resources.  Unity computing account privileges include:

Students may have access to additional computing resources provided by the colleges and programs in which they are enrolled.

Groups eligible for service

All registered NC State students

Types of use

Academic and personal

Duration of service

New student accounts are automatically generated before New Student Orientation and are fully activated before the beginning of the semester. Accounts remain active as long as students are registered at the university, unless the account holder violates NC State policies, regulations, and rulesThis link will open in a new window governing computing and network services. Account creation, activation and deactivation are explained in detail, below.


A portion of students' Educational Technology fees goes toward maintaining computing accounts for students.

Rules of use

Use of all NC State computer and network resources are governed by Administrative Regulations - Computer UseThis link will open in a new window. University computing account holders are responsible for reading and abiding by these and all other published Regulations and RulesThis link will open in a new window governing specific computing and network services. Failure to abide by these rules and regulations may result in loss of account privileges.

Use of university computing accounts by anyone other than the account holder is strictly prohibited.

Account holders are responsible for the activities performed under their account.

Account holders are responsible for changing their passwords and keeping them secure.

Additional service procedures and restrictions:

Unity IDs and default passwords

The Unity ID (also called Unity userid, login ID) is generated automatically from the user's last name and first and middle initials.

The default password assigned to a University computing account is automatically generated from the last four digits of the user's Campus ID number plus the month and day (mmdd) of the user's birthday. For example, if the Campus ID is 000001234 and the birthday is July 28, the default password assigned would be 12340728.

Changing passwords and userids

For security reasons, account holders are required to change their default passwords as soon as they receive them. Passwords should be changed at least annually, using the Unity Password Change Tool.

A Unity ID remains the same throughout the user's affiliation with the university. Because many systems on campus depend upon Unity IDs, OIT will not change a user’s Unity ID, even if the user's university records reflect an official name change due to marriage, divorce or some other reason. If extreme circumstances require a Unity ID change, a student must seek approval from one of the following entities:

The approver must send any request for a Unity ID change to accounts@ncsu.edu on the student's behalf. The request must include all of the following information:

  • current Unity ID
  • proposed new Unity ID
  • all components of the employee’s name (e.g., prefix, first name, middle name, last name, suffix)
  • general explanation of the extreme circumstances for the change. 

Due to the many systems on campus that depend on Unity IDs to provide users access to systems and services, it is strongly recommended that students with approved rename requests wait until the end of a semester to make the change. If a student’s Unity ID changes, but a system or service is not updated to reflect that change, the student might not be able to access for an indefinite period of time a system or service she or he uses heavily. For example, Moodle will not be accessible until day two of the account rename.

Email addresses

Google Apps @ NC StateThis link will open in a new window is the official email provider for NC State. Email addresses take the form of userid@ncsu.edu. Email addresses for students are published in the campus directory unless Registration and Records receives notice of a request for a Privacy Block. Students can make these changes online through the MyPack Portal.This link will open in a new window

Mail forwarding

Students who wish to forward their university email account mail should use Google's procedure to automatically forward emails to another accountThis link will open in a new window. 

Account creation, deactivation and deletion

As stated above, Unity student computing accounts are automatically generated before New Student Orientation and are fully activated before the beginning of the semester.

Student accounts are deactivated on census day (the last day of drop-add) of the first semester that a student is not registered. When an account is deactivated, no one will be able to log in with that Unity ID or have access to files stored under it. See Extended access for newly graduated students below.

Accounts are deleted one year after account deactivation.

For example, if a student is not registered by census day of the spring semester his or her account will be deactivated. If that student is also not registered by the following fall semester's census day, the account will be deleted. Summer is not considered a separate semester for this purpose.

Account access for students during summer break

NC State students who do not take classes during the summer but who pre-register for fall semester classes will continue to have computing privileges throughout the summer. Such students can continue to use the workstations in Unity labs, check email, remotely access campus servers and transfer files to and from their Unity file space via the university's server, ftp.ncsu.edu. Web pages on the www4.ncsu.edu server will also remain accessible via the Internet during the summer.

However, students who are not pre-registered for the fall semester will lose their Unity account access.

This procedure applies to Unity accounts for graduate and undergraduate students registered for both spring and fall classes. There are no extra fees.

Account access for Life-Long Education (LLE) students

Like other NC State students, students enrolled through the Life-Long Education program, including Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) and Undergraduate Studies (UGS), automatically receive Unity computing accounts. LLE student accounts are generated when the student is enrolled with Registration and Records.

Account access for students in Study Abroad programs

Students enrolled in an NC State Study AbroadThis link will open in a new window program which includes being registered in an NC State course (e.g., ISE 900 or ISE 910) and paying tuition and fees will continue to have full access to their Unity computing accounts. Account access for students enrolled through Life-Long Education (LLE) may be delayed several weeks, however. See information about LLE students above.

Students enrolled in study abroad programs that they have arranged on their own typically do not have Unity account access because they are not enrolled at NC State and are not paying NC State tuition or fees.

Account access for Co-op students

Co-op students who are registered as NC State students through the Co-op officeThis link will open in a new window will maintain normal access to their Unity computing accounts

Extended access for newly graduated students

  • Google Apps
    As long as the student continues to use the account and the university offers this service, the full Google Apps suite of services will remain enabled for these graduates.
  • Other IT Services
    Access to campus-based file space and other services will remain active for four months after graduation. This access is being offered as a courtesy to help the many graduates who use Web resumes as part of their job search and career planning strategies. They will not be able to log in to public workstations in campus computing facilities (e.g., Unity labs), but they will be able to access email and file space remotely. Web pages on the www4.ncsu.edu server will remain accessible via the Internet while accounts are active.
  • MyPack Portal
    Graduates are allowed to log in to the MyPack Portal Self-Service page to access their student information. This access remains until the account is deleted from the system.  

Additional Information

To learn more about Unity computing accounts see IDs & Passwords.