Affiliation   coreshow all attributes
Name eduPersonAffiliation
Description Type of affiliation
Vocabulary faculty, student, staff, alum, member, affiliate, employee , library-walk-in
References eduPerson
OIDC n/a
LDAP Syntax Directory String
# of values multi
Example values
  • student
  • affiliate


Specifies the user's relationship(s) to the institution in broad categories such as student, faculty, employee, etc. (See controlled vocabulary).

The primary intended purpose of eduPersonAffiliation is to convey broad-category affiliation assertions between members of an identity federation. Given this inter-institutional context, only values of eduPersonAffiliation with broad consensus in definition and practice will have any practical value. The list of allowed values in the current version of the object class is certainly incomplete, especially in terms of local institutional use. The editors felt that any additional values should come out of discussions with the stakeholder communities. Any agreed-upon additional values will be included in later versions of eduPerson.

member is intended to include faculty, staff, student, and other persons with a full set of basic privileges that go with membership in the university community (e.g., they are given institutional calendar privileges, library privileges and/or vpn accounts). It could be glossed as "member in good standing of the university community."
The member affiliation MUST be asserted for people carrying one or more of the following affiliations:

  • faculty
  • staff
  • student
  • employee

affiliate for eduPersonAffiliation indicates that the holder has some definable affiliation to the university NOT captured by any of faculty, staff, student, employee, alum and/or member. Typical examples might include event volunteers, parents of students, guests and external auditors. There are likely to be widely varying definitions of affiliate across institutions. Given that, affiliate is of dubious value in federated, inter-institutional use cases.

library-walk-in: This term was created to cover the case where physical presence in a library facility grants someone access to electronic resources typically licensed for faculty, staff and students. In recent years the library walk-in provision has been extended to cover other cases such as library users on the campus network, or those using on-campus workstations. Licensed resource providers have often been willing to interpret their contracts with licensees to accept this broader definition of library-walk-in, though specific terms may vary.
For a more direct way of using eduPerson attributes to express library privilege information, see common-lib-terms .

The presence of other affiliation values neither implies nor precludes the affiliation library-walk-in.

It is not feasible to attempt to reach broad-scale, precise and binding inter-institutional definitions of affiliations such as faculty and students. Organizations have a variety of business practices and institutional specific uses of common terms. Therefore each institution will decide the criteria for membership in each affiliation classification. What is desirable is that a reasonable person should find an institution's definition of the affiliation plausible.


eduPersonAffiliation Values Diagram

Role hierarchy of the eduPersonAffiliation values

  • In the Switch edu-ID federation, the value employee MUST NOT be used. Use staff instead.


  • If there is a value in eduPersonPrimaryAffiliation , that value MUST be asserted here as well.

  • Holders of the affiliation alum are not typically "members" since they are not eligible for the full set of basic institutional privileges enjoyed by faculty, staff and students.

  • There are significant differences in practice between identity providers in the way they define faculty, staff and employee and the logical relationships between the three. In particular there are conflicting definitions of staff and employee from country to country that make those values particularly unreliable in any international context.

All attribute definitions in a single document: Switch edu-ID Attribute Specification