European Student Identifier (ESI)

This page describes the implementation of the European Student Identifier (ESI) for SWITCH edu-ID, in compliance with the international Géant ESI Specification.

The following key points were decided for the use of the ESI in the Swiss higher education community

  • This specification describes the generation of the ESI for Swiss students studying abroad (outgoing students).
  • The ESI identifier is part of the edu-ID affiliation data when the students want to log in to a service with edu-ID.
  • eduGAIN of GÉANT is transporting the ESI internationally.
  • Persistence: The identifier follows the student while he/she is on student mobility
  • The national implementation complies with the Géant ESI Specification.
  • The Swiss higher education community uses the HEI-wide student scope (and not the nation-wide student scope)
  • The ESI can be imported into another database via the edu-ID, e.g. for EWP (Digital Learning Agreement, Nomination) or requirements within University Alliances


For each outgoing student an ESI is issued in the HEI-wide scope format. According to the specification by Géant the ESI identifier is stored and transmitted using the Attribute schacPersonalUniqueCode. Students have the schacPersonalUniqueCode in their edu-ID identity, from where it can be made available via edu-ID or eduGAIN login to online services related to student mobility.

A university has two alternatives to support the ESI for their members – the university managed ESI or the SWITCH managed ESI. Each university can choose to either generate the ESI and add it to edu-ID affiliations, or to have the ESI generated by SWITCH.

If a university wants to support the ESI, it must support and release the attribute schacPersonalUniqueCode in the Resource Registry.

The ESI Identifier is shown to the user in my-eduID (

Option 1: University managed ESI

In the case of the university managed ESI, the university generates and manages the ESI according to their requirements. It transmits the ESI for the persons concerned via the existing attribute synchronisation interfaces (push or pull) into the corresponding edu-ID affiliations.

In the example below, the university generates the identifier:


The university managed ESI option is active by default.

Option 2: SWITCH managed ESI

In the case of the SWITCH managed ESI, SWITCH is responsible for generating the ESI for all members of the university. Based on the existing swissEduPersonUniqueID identifier (which is controlled by the university) SWITCH builds the ESI and adds it to the affiliation of all university members.

  • The ESI identifier is generated based on the existing identifier swissEduPersonUniqueID. The local part and scope are extracted and reassembled according to the Géant ESI specification. The swissEduPersonUniqueID is managed by the university and already known in all edu-ID affiliations.
  • Example: for a university member with a swissEduPersonUniqueID = the following ESI value is generated by SWITCH:
  • SWITCH generates the ESI automatically for all edu-ID affiliations of an organization.


Contact us if the SWITCH managed ESI option is to be activated for your university. The request should be coordinated with the university IT services.