Penn State Requires All Students to Enroll in Two-Factor Authentication

Story posted March 5, 2020 in CommRadio, News by Emme Diszler

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- By May 12, all Penn State students are required to enroll in two-factor authentication. This process, which Penn State is referring to as 2FA, adds an extra layer of protection, making it more difficult for someone else to log into your Penn State accounts.

Enrolling in two-factor authentication takes only a few minutes, but students who do not enroll in it by May 12 could lose access to over 2,000 Penn State sites until they register. This includes Outlook and Canvas. May graduates who plan to leave Penn State do not have to enroll.

When trying to log into a Penn State site, students are first prompted to put in their user ID and password; these serve as the first layer of protection. They will then get a message or call to their phone requiring them to input a security code before successfully logging in to the site. This is the second layer of protection. The devices that get the message sent to them are the ones that students can enroll in 2FA. Eligible devices include cell phones, landlines, tablets or hardware tokens.

Is this something that Penn State students need? Sean Ritsley, a junior studying IST, commented on the new system. 

“I have received emails on a handful of occasions where they are a little bit shady and they do ask me to sign in with my Penn State credentials,” Ritsley said. “I actually did it once but then I went and changed my password. And nothing bad came out of it. But it does show that there are people interested in those credentials. So, it might be useful.”


Emme Diszler is a freshman in the college of communications. To contact her, email