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Course sharing and a nationwide admission system provides an excellent rationale for Swedish colleges and universities to use federated identity management to lower their costs.

A paper developed by Kristina Leve and Valter Nordh, of the Swedish Alliance for Middleware Infrastructure (SWAMI), discusses how federated identity management - specifically identity proofing a student just once - can lower costs. They have also developed a spreadsheet demonstrating the return on investment of the process.

"This can be achieved if organizations in the higher education community join an identity federation and act as identity providers for one another," the paper states.

Admission for higher education in Sweden is nationally coordinated; students can apply for admission to a university, as well as for access to any courses and programs offered at a variety of universities, through the website studera.nu. Students can obtain a verified account via studera.nu or, if applicable, use their existing university credentials.

SWAMI advocates taking this one step further by using federated identity management and allowing students to use their existing accounts to access resources at other universities. Rather than each university creating an account and doing the identity verification, the institutions agree to common policies and technology to allow already-verified students to use their existing credentials.

The paper and the spreadsheet demonstrating the per-student costs are both available at the InCommon website.

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