Campus ID News
Card, mobile credential, payment and security

A recurring storyline that plagues college campuses is the use of fake IDs. Despite the plethora of coverage and failed attempts at using fake IDs, however, counterfeiters continue to come out of the woodwork and students still can't seem to resist the temptation.

Over the course of the past few months, Austin police have been monitoring multiple locations in an effort to reduce underage drinking in the Downtown Austin entertainment district. As part of these efforts, the team targeted specifically the forging and use of fake IDs.

Per a report from the Statesman, initial efforts by police cited over 120 minors trying to use fake IDs to enter bars or clubs in the city's entertainment district with the intention to consume alcohol beverages. A few weeks ago, the unit received confidential information regarding a subject living near the University of Texas campus that was supposedly forging counterfeit IDs from different states and selling them to students for $60 to $200 each.

Undercover officers were able to convince the suspect to sell them a counterfeit state ID for $200. Following the phony sale, police were able to obtain a search warrant for the subject’s residence. Upon searching the counterfeiter's home the following items were recovered:

While no official number has been established, the counterfeiters are believed to have forged and sold hundreds of fake state IDs across the state. The counterfeiters have been charged with forgery, a 3rd degree felony in Texas.

Police believe the estimated value of the fake ID cards seized in the arrests to be over $70,000. The Austin Police Department is also currently analyzing evidence to identify individuals who have purchased the phony ID cards from the suspects.

Missouri State, like many other universities, has its own mobile app. And like many of its peers, MSU's offering is a work in progress.

At the moment, students who have downloaded the app primarily use it to track bus arrival times or keep up on campus news. An initiative being led the university's Student Government Association, however, wants to add more functionality to the mobile app.

Per a report form Missouri State's student newspaper, The Standard, the student government association is planning the addition of five updates to the app that will provide students with more personal and university information, including campus debit balances, and dining hall menus.

The first of the updates will enable students to access their Bear Bucks and Boomer Meal balances via the app.

The second of the updates would make dining hall and PSU vender menus viewable on the mobile app. At present, there is a separate app, offered through food service vendor Chartwells, but according to the report few students use the app.

A third update would connect a new parking garage counter to the mobile app, enabling students to more quickly find parking spaces.

Another update would see a filterable MSU calendar added to the app. Using the calendar, students will be able to sort their schedules based on academics, athletics or special events.

The final proposed update plans to incorporate a safety tab into the mobile app. From this tab, students will be able to call the campus safety and transportation department or the university's safe walk service. The safe walk, like at many other universities, provides security escorts for students walking on campus at night.

No official release dates for the updates has been given, but access to all of the new features is expected for the beginning of the coming fall semester.

The University of Greenwich has installed a SALTO smart access control system to secure student dorm rooms in a new residence hall.

The University of Greenwich is the largest in London with nearly 24,000 students. To control access to and within Daniel Defoe Hall the university has chosen a SALTO access control system supplied, installed and commissioned by SALTO Certificated Partner Guardian Security SW Ltd. The residence hall provides accommodation for 358 students and features a in a mix of flat shares, studio apartments and “mini-flats."

SALTO access control is already being used for other parts of the Greenwich University campus. At the university's Daniel Defoe Hall the idea was to think of the student accommodation as a hospitality environment. With this in mind, the university has installed 480 of SALTO's offline AElement wireless RFID lock units at the students' bedrooms, apartment doors and miscellaneous office doors.

Using the SALTO data-on-card access control system users across campus can access the building through its offline escutcheons in almost real time through the SALTO Virtual Network (SVN). This software allows the battery operated standalone locks to read, receive and write information via their operating ID smart cards.

Data is captured from the cards at the SALTO Virtual Network via on-line hot spots located at strategic points which upload and download user-related information that is then used to allow or deny access.

Key to the project at Greenwich has been the audit trailing and battery status features, along with the scalable nature of the system that will allow for more doors to be added to the system over time.

The voting process understandably garners attention, and in 2014 much of the spotlight fell upon the campus card. In states across the country, senators and representatives called for university-issued photo IDs to be used as an official form of voter identification while others rallied to restrict this use.

When it comes to voter ID, states are accepting everything from tribal identification to gun licenses, but they are still split with regards to the campus card. In 2014 at least four states were considering new legislation  –  Arizona, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas  –  while at least 15 others already accepted the IDs.

On the surface, this type of use for non-campus functions might seem like a positive step for campus-issued IDs. But as you add functionality to a credential, you increase its value, and in tandem, the likelihood that people might work to create counterfeits.

Whether voter ID, age verification or use as an identity document when applying for accounts or other IDs, serious questions emerge.

What should be the limits of the student ID? What identifying information should appear on the card? And is it best to curtail its use to institution-specific functions, or let it be more broadly accepted?

Understanding off-campus

In some instances, use of the university ID beyond the confines of campus can offer a great resource to students. Obviously, off campus merchant programs expand dining options and can serve a necessary function. Similarly, university-sponsored discount or loyalty programs can save students money and promote positive relationships between an institution and its surrounding community.

But these are fairly innocuous uses, more for convenience than for identity. Sure a card could be a target for counterfeiters for use in a particularly lucrative discount program, but the resulting damage would be minimal.

This might not be the case, however, for a card that can serve as a breeder identity document. Breeder documents are accepted as a form of valid ID when applying for another credential such as a state-issued ID or driver license. Additionally, it can be a breeder document if accepted for establishing services such as utilities, phone or financial accounts, as these can serve as a link in the chain for establishing a false identity or assuming another’s identity.

[pullquote]It would be highly unusual for an institution to want to step into the shoes of a state dmv or federal agency and try to convey the age of the cardholder[/pullquote]

Vital information

The modern campus card often carries both the data and perception of an official government-issued ID. But when it comes to the use of that credential for unintended purposes, where should accountability lie?

When determining the range of potential uses for the student ID, Jay Summerall, vice president Blackboard Transact, stresses that the institution should consider its mission and how the ID supports that mission. He uses the example of birth dates and IDs. “It would be highly unusual for an institution to want to step into the shoes of a state DMV or federal agency and try to convey the age of the cardholder for various purposes like purchasing alcohol,” he says.

Robert Huber is a campus card business consultant and runs RHA Consulting. Huber stresses that universities should practice caution when it comes to extending campus card use beyond the walls of the campus. He offers a list of items that universities should avoid printing on their cards.

This may seem like an obvious one, but Huber reminds not to include a Social Security Number on a student ID. This was common in the early days of the campus card, but it is a practice that has been banished in this era of identity theft.

Huber also implores universities to avoid the temptation to print the date of birth on a campus card as well. “Printing a birth date promotes the production of fraudulent campus cards and increases the potential liability to the university,” he says.

He stresses that the campus card should not be used for verification of legal age. “Although the legal age of the cardholder can be verified by an electronic check of a campus card system, it’s best for a university to confer with its legal counsel regarding this process,” he says.

Campus security is arguably the most important service that a school or university can provide for its students. There is a plethora of ways in which educational institutions can address security, but for the K-12 space in particular, implementing the proper measures can be a daunting and confusing task.

The folks at the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) know this all too well, and with the help of a host of other industry stakeholders, have devised a way for K-12 schools to access the information they need to implement effective campus security measures.

The background

In 2013, SIA launched a working group focused on identifying ways to enhance school security. The following year, SIA partnered with NSCA to turn that group into a more robust organization bringing together members of the security industry, school officials and law enforcement. The goal was to develop a coordinated approach to protecting K-12 students and educators.

It was from this collaboration that SIA and NSCA formed the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), a program that will combine each organization’s respective school safety programs, along with NSCA’s mass notification and emergency communications task forces, to provide valuable insight and perspective to schools nationwide. The goal for PASS is to create a powerful resource that will help integrators and schools alike to implement the most appropriate and effective security technologies.

The PASS K-12 initiative is being led by a steering committee of industry veterans that includes:

PASS’ steering committee members have played a pivotal role in the planning and drafting of the K-12 safety guidelines document. Additionally, the committee draws from a wealth of industry knowledge and experience.

“On the larger committee we have 25 people ranging from manufacturing personnel, system integrators, consultants, law enforcement, end users and organizations like Safe and Sound,” says HID’s director of education solutions and PASS chairman, Brett St. Pierre.

Safe and Sound is a non-profit organization founded by parents, educators and community members in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The organization’s founder, Michelle Gay is working alongside PASS as well to help spread the word about the safety guidelines and resources being offered by PASS.

A security cheat sheet

At the heart of the PASS initiative is a reality that schools across the country have to grapple with; school officials are rarely experts in physical security. With this in mind, PASS is looking to bridge that gap.

Specifically, school administrators must answer two basic questions when planning to implement security systems: What should we do? And how do we pay for it?

With this in mind, PASS has developed a document entitled, Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools.

Through these guidelines, PASS will focus on addressing both ongoing and emerging threats to students and educators and will provide education regarding security and life safety best practices. The organization will also offer guidance to educators and security professionals en route to identifying the following:

“A lot of schools have little funding and lack knowledge of the tech out there,” says HID’s St. Pierre. “For example, there are facilities employees that have been managing metal keys all their lives. This gives schools additional guidelines to help with things like that.”

The number of courses being offered online is growing by the day, and you'd be hard pressed to find a student who hasn't already taken or is currently enrolled in an online course. This growing trend is adding a new wrinkle to academic dishonesty and fraud, and is giving rise to a new breed of identity verification technologies.

One online course monitoring system currently available is the Birmingham, Alabama-based ProctorU. The company has seen a growing interest in its video monitoring service, which has been used by colleges and universities nationwide.

Students connect with live proctors, either in person or through webcams, and in a three-step process, are verified to take tests while the proctor monitors their computer activity using customer-support software to deter academic dishonesty.

ProctorU’s Ucard system is designed to helps guard against financial aid fraud and ensure students are attending online courses.

The system employs some of the same techniques already being used to verify students before they take online tests, along with new authentication methods like keystroke analysis, to make cheating online courses more difficult. To date, ProctorU reports that eleven universities have contracted with the company as part of its Ucard pilot.

ProctorU uses a layered verification process, which resembles multi-factor authentication, to help establish a student's identity online.

To begin the process, a proctor sees the student via a webcam, checks their ID and takes their photo to keep on file. Then, the the student is prompted to answer a series of challenge, or knowledge-based questions to further validate their identity. Finally, the system's keystroke analysis software adds a biometric element to round out the student's profile for any subsequent logins.

Per the company's website, Missouri's Columbia College has used the solution to great effect. The college reports nearly 16,000 students taking at least one online course each year, offering more than 800 accredited online classes and 27 accredited online degree programs.

Columbia used the solution to cut back on suspected financial aid fraud associated with its online course offerings. Using the company's student identity management process, the college reported avoiding disbursing nearly $6 million in financial aid funds to suspected fraudulent recipients.

Tom Stiles, executive director, Identification Systems Group

When it comes to the maintenance and support of your ID card system, you have a couple of choices. You can have the system maintained by your local expert dealer or do it yourself using the manufacturer’s 800-number and depot maintenance program.

Over the years, ID card printers have become more reliable with a lower average cost. This commoditization is typical in the lifecycle of product technology and offers an advantage when it comes to choice and cost savings. These choices include the purchase of a backup card printer and service of the printer using a depot program.

Your ID card system is an investment and is an important part of a university’s overall identification and security program. It’s much more than just a card printer; it’s a system of many components that need to work together, as well as with other campus systems. In addition, a campus card administrator and their staff’s time is valuable, and working on a down card printer may not the best use of resources.

Questions You Should Be Asking

Several factors should be considered when making a decision on how to support a university ID card system. A card administrator should ask the following key questions:

Your Staff

Do you or your staff have the time to stay on top of all of the details required to keep the system in peak condition? Are you or your staff technically able to handle the ongoing updates, upgrades, cleaning and changes? What is that internal cost, and how much productivity is lost?

IT Department

I occasionally hear that the IT department handles maintenance and service. The “mysterious” IT department can be a catch-all for support, and they are generally overburdened. It is rare that IT staff has the knowledge to work on a device that has mechanical operations. If they do, will they have the time to perform scheduled routine maintenance? If responsibility is transferred to campus IT, are there internal charges for the service?


Do you have the time to wait for a replacement printer to arrive? If not, do you have a backup printer or two? What is the cost of an on-site service agreement that includes all preventative maintenance, and how does this compare to a depot agreement? If you obtain an on-site agreement, could you leverage that to negotiate a lower price on cards and printer supplies?

Real Life Scenarios

Let’s walk through two possible scenarios to show the differences between on-site service and a depot arrangement.

Scenario #1 – Depot Service

There’s a problem with your printer, you call the 800-number and spend some time troubleshooting the issue.

It may not be apparent if the issue is with the card printer, software, camera or printer supplies. In this scenario, you would need to retrieve the original packing box – that you would have had to save –  unload the printer of its cards and ribbon because the ribbon may have personal data on it, pack the printer in the box and arrange to ship it.

The design of a campus card says a lot. The aesthetics of student IDs vary widely from university to university, but overall the design of a campus card should reflect and represent the institution. And what better way to ensure that this is the case, than to allow the cardholders themselves play a role in the design process?

Beginning this month, all Southern Illinois University-Carbondale identification cards will include a background picture taken by one of the university's very own students. According to Southern Illinois-Carbondale's official website, the student's photograph captured the university's Student Services Building fountain at sunset, and was selected as the winning photo in the Student Center’s SIU ID Photo Contest.

The student, a junior cinema major who is also pursuing a minor in photography, was walking across and noticed that the sun was ideally positioned behind the fountain. Taking the opportunity to capture a great photo, the student snapped the shot with her smartphone and submitted it as her official entry in the contest.

As part of the university-run contest, students submitted nearly 250 photo entries via Instagram or email. The winner received a $100 University Bookstore gift card for submitting the winning campus scene picture. The university will now print the picture as a background on all newly-printed, official campus ID cards.

Similar to a recent student contest at Cincinnati wherein a student was selected to be the face of all campus card marketing material, the contest at SIU is another great example of how a university can get students involved with the campus card, while also enhancing the design elements of the IDs they carry.

Every student does laundry. At least we hope they do. It's a remedial, albeit necessary, chore that will forever be a component of daily life. On campus, however, students not only face long wait times but also the challenge of finding an open machine and returning to retrieve their clean clothes before someone else removes it for them.

The University at Buffalo is attempting to eradicate these issues in its campus laundry rooms with a new mobile app that enables students to reserve washers and dryers. According to a release from the university's official website, Buffalo's card vendor, CBORD helped to deliver the app. Starting April 10, washers and dryers at select residence halls will be switching to a laundry system backed by CBORD Mobile ID and laundry readers.

Buffalo received the Visionary Award at CBORD's 2014 User Group Conference for enhancing its campus card system with mobile availability, and the laundry machine app seems to be another example of this vision.

The app will allow students to search for available washers and dryers, view wait times for each machine and reserve machines from their phone or computer. The system will then anonymously alert previous users via text or email when their laundry is ready for removal or when machines become available.

Once a student enters the Mobile ID location number for the laundry machine they wish to use, they swipe the card icon across the phone's screen on the app and their machine becomes activated.

As is typically the case in a dorm setting, students will leave their laundry in machines and go do other things while they wash. The problem with this is that students often find their clothes balled up on top of machines to make way for other students that need to use the machines.

One of the hopes for the new app is to cut down on this issue, as well as clothing theft -- another common issue at Buffalo and other universities -- as students will be able to view laundry machine statuses in advance rather than lug their clothes down and be disappointed when there are no machines available.

The first come, first served method of laundry is certainly frustrating at times, but the caveat with a mobile app is that, without widespread adoption, it will be difficult to accomplish a solution.

The concept of reserving washers and dryers only works when all students are aware of the machines' statuses, and know when to report to the laundry room to clean their clothes. Part and parcel to app's adoption will be the need to upgrade all university laundry facilities so that more machines support the reservation app.

Nonetheless, college students remain the best early adopters of these types of apps, particularly if it simplifies a droll task like doing laundry.

DePauw University’s meal plan system is set to be restructured in the fall 2015-16 semester, moving away from an existing declining balance plan to the more traditional single swipe system.

As reported by The DePauw, the meal plan change will mark a change for students used to the old system, but DePauw's decision should come as little surprise as a majority of universities employ the single swipe meal plan structure. The move, then, will see DePauw come around to what could be considered an industry standard in meal plan delivery.

To aid in the transition, DePauw has also partnered with Bon Appetit for the university's on-campus food services. Bon Appetit runs some of DePauw's on-campus food locations offering students an all-you-can-eat meal at a set price.

The transition to the new meal plan was deemed necessary after an overwhelming number of students were below their suggested meal plan balance last spring. Students were depleting their meal plan dollars before the end of the semester, causing frustration for students as well as some parents footing the meal plan bill.

Per the university dining website, the new meal plan promises to provide more meals per week than the existing declining balance plan. University officials explain that those on the current Residence Hall Meal Plan are allotted roughly $14 per day to spend on meals, adding up to 14 meals a week. And as is the case with a number of institutions, all students living in DePauw University housing must purchase a meal plan.

With the implementation of the swipe system, however, students will be given the option of 18 meals per week, with the number of swipes resetting each week. Additionally, these plans will include $200 in flex dollars each semester. The university also plans to accept flex dollars at any of the cafes around campus, opening up more options beyond DePauw's current dining hall locations.

The new meal plan is being modeled after similar swipe systems being used by other Bon Appetit clients including Wabash College, Carleton and Saint Olaf -- the standard meal plan structure that colleges and universities across the country employ.

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The only publication dedicated to the use of campus cards, mobile credentials, identity and security technology in the education market. CampusIDNews – formerly CR80News – has served more than 6,500 subscribers for more than two decades.

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