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

The account remains active as long as the student is registered at the university, unless the student violates NC State policies, regulations, and rulesThis link will open in a new window governing computing and network services.  See also Extended access for new graduates below.


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

Rules of use

Account activation, deactivation and deletion

  • Unity student computing accounts are automatically created before New Student Orientation.
  • They are fully activated before the beginning of the semester.
  • An account is deactivated on census day (the last day of drop-add) of the first semester that a student is not registered, unless the student is a new graduate. See Extended access for newly graduated students below.
  • No one will be able to log in to the deactivated account with that Unity ID or have access to files stored under it.
  • Accounts are deleted one year after account deactivation.
  • For example, if a student is not registered by census day of a spring semester then his or her account will be deactivated. If that student is also not registered by the following fall semester's census day, then the account will be deleted. Summer is not considered a separate semester for this purpose.

Unity ID and default password

  • 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.
  • The default password is not secure.

Changing a password

  • 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.

Changing a Unity ID

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

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 access for students during summer break

  • NC State graduate and undergraduate students who were registered for the spring semester and pre-register for fall but do not take summer classes will continue to have computing account access throughout the summer.
  • Such students can continue to do all of the following during the summer:
    • use the workstations in Unity labs, 
    • check email
    • remotely access campus servers
    • transfer files to and from their Unity file space via the university's server, ftp.ncsu.edu
    • access their Web pages on the www4.ncsu.edu server via the Internet.
  • There are no extra fees for this access.
  • Students who are not pre-registered for the fall semester will lose their Unity account access.

Account access for Life-Long Education (LLE) students

  • Students enrolled through the LLE program, including Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) and Undergraduate Studies (UGS), automatically receive Unity computing accounts.
  • An LLE student account is generated when the student is enrolled with Registration and Records.
  • Account access for LLE students may be delayed several weeks.

Account access for students in Study Abroad programs

  • Students enrolled in an NC State Study AbroadThis link will open in a new window program that 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.
  • 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 new graduates

  • Google Apps
    Access to the full Google Apps suite of services will remain active
    for as long as the university offers this service and the student continues to use the account.
  • Other IT Services
    • Access to campus-based file space and other services will remain active for four months after graduation
    • This access is offered as a courtesy to help the many graduates who use Web resumes in their job search and career planning strategies. 
    • New graduates will be able to access:
      • email and file space remotely. 
      • Web pages on the www4.ncsu.edu server via the Internet.
    • They will not be able to log in to public workstations in campus computing facilities (e.g., Unity labs).
  • 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.