PennKey Glossary

PennKey Glossary of Terms

Address of Record

The address to which a PennKey Setup Code is mailed in instances where newly admitted students are sent hard copies of the PennKey Setup Code letter instead of an email.


The method a computer system uses to verify that an individual is who he or she claims to be. PennKey is an authentication method. See also Authorization.


The access or eligibility granted to a particular service or application for an authenticated user. Authorization is the responsibility of service or application owners and it works with an authentication method. For example, only authorized individuals, not everyone who has a registered PennKey and password, can log in to U@ Penn.


A technology that secures services on host computers. PennKey is based on Kerberos technology.

Non-Persistent PennKey

A type of PennKey issued to individuals such as conference attendees, who have a more fluid or shorter-term relationship to Penn. Non-Persistent PennKeys start with a "g" followed by seven digits. They always have a limited life-span and cannot be renewed once expired. Individuals with Non-Persistent PennKeys cannot set a new password if they forget theirs. They need to obtain a new PennKey and a new Penn ID.

Penn ID

A unique eight-digit number issued to Penn and UPHS affliates. University offices frequently require a Penn ID for identification in situations where they formerly required an individual's Social Security Number. PennCard users will find their Penn ID printed on their PennCard -- it is the 8-digit sequence of numbers  on the card. See also PennKey.


A University ID card showing your photo and ID number. PennCard is an accepted form of photo ID at PennKey Administration Stations.


An individual's username and the associated password in the PennKey Authentication System. You must register your PennKey before you can access any services that use PennKey authentication.

PennKey Administration Station

A campus location where you can obtain a PennKey Setup Code.

PennKey Setup Code

A temporary identifier issued to reset a forgotten password, or to register a PennKey. See also PennKey Recovery Service.

PennKey username

An individual's username in the PennKey Authentication System. Your PennKey username is based on your PennName, a unique identifier that is the basis for usernames in many University systems.


A unique identifier for user names in many University systems, including PennKey.

Setup Code

See PennKey Setup Code.

Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR)

A modern, secure, easy-to-use app for resetting your PennKey password – using only your pre-registered personal (non-Penn) email address and cell phone number. Only individuals who have previously enrolled in SSPR can reset their passwords online. Enrollment in SSPR is optional and is not available to individuals with Non-Persistent PennKeys.

Single Sign-On

The ability to authenticate once and access multiple electronic services, rather than authenticate separately to each service.

Sponsored Guest

An individual with an official business need for a PennKey but is not a Penn faculty member, staff member, student, applicant, alumnus/a or UPHS (University of Pennsylvania Health System) employee. Some examples of sponsored guests include consultants, volunteers, visiting scholars, and course auditors. See ‘How to Sponsor a Guest’.