Campus ID News
Card, mobile credential, payment and security

Using the university ID card for off-campus food purchases isn't a new concept, but when it makes landfall at a university for the first time, it's still a big deal for students. Now students at Peterborough, Ontario's Trent University are using their campus cards to pay for meals off campus through a partnership between the university and local cafes.

As reported by The Peterborough Examiner, off-campus meals are the latest feature to be added to Trent's UCard, as students already use their cards for physical access to residence halls and exam room sign in. As with other universities, Trent students can go online to load money on their cards and make purchases at campus bookstores, restaurants and other on-campus locations.

This latest initiative will join a host of other campus card services, and marks the first time student IDs will be accepted at off-campus restaurants. The three initial locations are frequented by Trent students and according to the report, the students themselves were asked in a survey to choose three businesses at which to use their cards.

As is the case at other institutions, university officials explain that by using Trent's UCard to pay means that students can avoid paying bank fees. Another benefit for Trent students is that the campus card can be de-activated and replaced all in the same day if it's lost, unlike a bank card. Students or their parents can reload the UCard online and add money to the card at any time.

By Scott Kachmarik, director of auxiliary services, University of Notre Dame

While it is easy for a campus card manager to insist upon the highest security cards and systems, the reality is that no campus can afford to max out every system across all auxiliaries. There is a balance that must occur when weighing system upgrades and investments, and card office managers are not always privy to these internal wranglings.

On an almost daily basis, Auxiliary Services directors are faced with difficult choices on projects and purchasing decisions. Many focus solely on the bottom line; how much is this going to cost? Others think through the myriad factors and issues that impact the decision-making and understand the need to balance cost with desired outcomes. Moreover, decisions hinge on predicting the future and positioning the decision to anticipate the latest trends and enhancements. So while the price was right on a truck load of mimeograph machines (for those not old enough to know what a mimeograph machine is, ask your parents and prepare for a trip down grade school memory lane), looking back on that decision does not seem like a wise investment any longer!

With the technology explosion of smart phones, mobile technology, electronic wallets and even smart watches, no industry is changing more rapidly – or unpredictably – than the campus card industry. Until recently, the campus ID card was simply your physical manifestation of having made it: you were now officially a member of alma mater. You proudly displayed it to family and friends during breaks and maybe on too-infrequent trips to the library. Of course, it was also carried because it was required by university policy on the oft chance encounter with a hall director or campus safety officer. In the end, it proclaimed your acceptance and official confirmation that you were a member of the community.

But today, the campus card has become so much more. It is the key to experiencing campus. As campus card programs continue to evolve, one thing is certain – they will require greater flexibility. On many campuses the card program is viewed as a service solution center. Questions of “how can we do this better?” more often than not lead to conversations involving the campus card. Responding with recommendations that leverage the technology to meet the need is the challenge, but it is also an opportunity to demonstrate the value of the card as a campus-wide asset.

[pullquote]Do not assume people understand the vulnerabilities that exist with less secure – and less expensive – technology and be prepared to explain the trade-offs[/pullquote]

Nevertheless, with this convenience comes responsibility and questions of security and compliance. Identity theft, fraud and consumer rights are now part of regular discussions in campus card offices across the country. Increased government interest, regulation and oversight continue to shift the landscape of how campus card offices respond. No longer is it simply the role of the card office to prevent identity theft and fraud, but now to even detect it while it is happening. As the credential replaces cash, keys and even the card itself, the burden of safety, security, disclosure and compliance must be balanced with customer service.

So when faced with the task of replacing campus card systems – hardware and software – it is important to evaluate your campus approach to finding that balance. As the saying goes, it is better to be on the cutting edge and not the “bleeding edge.” How many times have we made decisions that jumped to new, unproven and untested technology that simply was not yet ready?

In order to begin the process, it is important to consider key questions.

How secure is secure enough?

Cutting edge technology can be expensive and sometimes overkill on what a campus might need to keep data and card holders safe and secure. Bar code, mag stripe, prox, contactless and biometrics are all options that work and should be considered for credential use. Determine the campus risk and exposure and fit your plans to match your security and compliance needs. Do your best to become educated on the strengths and weaknesses of each technology so you are able to communicate the differences to campus decision-makers. Do not assume people understand the vulnerabilities that exist with less secure – and less expensive – technology and be prepared to explain the trade-offs.

How will the decisions you make impact the campus, and how will they impact other campus partners?

While important to mediate the demand for high security and compliance with cost, it is necessary to also consider long-standing partnerships and impacts on existing systems. Be sure to invest the time to identify, understand and acknowledge the “downstream” implications of system and hardware changes. Know that includes campus units, off-campus merchants and even other local institutions that collaborate across campus boundaries.

Does your decision take into account the scalability of the technology so that it can grow to meet future needs and technology enhancements?

Sometimes campus units operate in silos and get caught up in the trap of existing to serve their own needs. When making decisions to promote a campus one card program, it is imperative to have a campus-wide view that understands current practices, cultures and operations. Anticipating future needs and future enhancements creates strategic relationships rather than ones of convenience or tradition.

How do you build relationships with campus partners to make this a campus decision and not just a card office decision?

Changing a card system is easy; changing a culture to one accepting and embracing of a one card concept is difficult. Building relationships and preparing the campus for change will create buy-in that leads to successful outcomes and a safe, secure and compliant card environment that everyone understands and meets the needs of the entire campus.

In the end, changing a campus card system or technology to meet ever-changing security and compliance demands can be a quick and easy process that simply “locks” everything down and creates another silo. But the campus and campus card holders deserve better. Approach the decision-making process as the steward of a campus asset and promote the opportunities to partners who may not understand how they can benefit. Strategic leaders create a vision, partner with others, manage change, communicate, strive for success and celebrate achievement. Be the change necessary for your campus to provide a secure and compliant environment that balances cost and customer service.

Tony Warner has served East Tennessee State University for 30 years. Now, Warner has planned his retirement as the assistant vice president for student affairs, university center and campus ID services in the coming fall semester.

As reported by the East Tennessean, Warner started with East Tennessee State in 1985, having already worked for a number of other universities. The initial plan for Warner at East Tennessee was a short-term move, but after falling in love with the university, he ultimately decided to make the stay more permanent.

Warner's previous positions included a three-year stint as a resident director for housing at Western Illinois University, as well as a position in student activities at the University of Nebraska. After five years with Nebraska, Warner accepted a position as a director of a small student union at a branch campuses in the Indiana University system. Then came East Tennessee State.

At ETSU, Warner manages the university center and ID services, which includes overseeing the building, reservation system and information desk. Warner also helps market the building and serves as the official liaison with Aramark food services.

As with other campus card admins Warner wears many hats, handling everything from student complaints to new meal plan designs. Warner has been at the heart of new dining initiatives on ETSU's campus, expanding the options from just four locations when he signed on, to more than 13 locations today.

The improvements made in ETSU's dining are largely the result of effort put forth by Warner and his colleagues, but Warner also had a hand in the initiation and development of ETSU's campus ID systems.

“In 1995, the food services noticed how campuses were using electronic cards. We set up a committee and began researching the idea of meal plan cards," Warner says in an interview with the East Tennessean. "As we started looking around the country and talking with firms that supplied the software, we discovered that what we really needed to do was come up with a student ID card that had meal plan and residential building access.”

After years of improvements and advancements in ETSU's university center and the campus as a whole, Warner has decided to retire so he can spend more time with his family. Warner has set a retirement date of September 11, exactly two days after his 30-year anniversary working for ETSU.

“I’ve made great friends and lots of great memories, but it’s time for me to retire. It’s been so great to work with all of the students and the friends and colleagues that I’ve developed," says Warner. "Those are the things that I will remember. It’s working with such great people that has made this 30 years well worth it.”

Congratulations on a great career, Tony!

The Department of Education has released its notice of proposed rulemaking for the regulation of title IV and HEA funds, having been working on the negotiated rulemaking process for over a year.

The resulting document is a lengthy one at nearly 300 pages, and we will be providing a more in-depth look at the document. In the meantime, here's the PDF of the full document, as well as the link to the online version at The Office of the Federal Register website.


A proof of age card scheme has been launched by London's Kingston Council for all high school-aged students in the borough.

The Kingston borough is the latest to join the scheme, as the Council’s Trading Standards and Public Health department has offered the Proof of Age London (PAL) cards for free to all 17-18 year old students in the borough as part of a pilot initiative.

Beyond the pilot, the cards will cost around £8 and will be compliant with the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) founded in 2001. The Proof of Age Standards Scheme includes a network of 17 card providers spread across the country.

The idea behind the initiative is to give students a reliable form of ID, while also helping businesses to mitigate the risk of selling age-restricted goods to minors.

Nearly 600 cards have been issued as part of the Kingston Council pilot to date. To qualify for a PAL card a student must be living in or attending school in a London borough. However, the card can be used across the United Kingdom as a proof of age document. PAL cards are issued and administered on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames by the London Borough of Southwark.

According to the Kingston Council website, businesses in the borough typically operate under the ‘Challenge 25’ principle, where if a customer looks 25 or under they are asked for identification when purchasing age restricted products or services. It's a common practice at the movie theaters, pubs, night clubs and retail shops.

The PAL card will help to guard against the sale of age-restricted items in the UK like alcohol, air guns, knives, aerosol spray cans, fireworks, gas lighters, tobacco and tattoos which are illegal for minors under the age of 18.

Every card that carries the unique PASS hologram will have been issued by a card provider who has passed an application and accreditation process that examines the procedures they adopt to check and verify identity.

The identity chain can be a fragile thing when you consider the number of possible weak links. These weak links can be the result of insecure, “breeder” documents – documents like birth certificates and Social Security cards that can be used to obtain other higher value identity documents like passports and driver licenses. Fraudsters often use these easier-to-acquire breeder documents to then apply for more secure IDs.

In the current issue, we consider the limits of the student ID card, what cardholder information it should feature and how far beyond the confines of campus it should be accepted. While the student ID is, for the most part, well garrisoned within the walls of campus, there remain certain uses of the student credential – voter ID, for example – that may attach unintended value and thus risk to the student ID.

The worst-case scenario is that a fraudulently obtained student ID is used as a breeder document to obtain more secure IDs. And should that fraudster use those newly acquired credentials for identity theft or criminal acts, the paper trail could lead back to the university.

A quick scan of the Social Security Administration’s web site shows that in order to obtain an original or replacement Social Security card, an applicant must first produce a U.S. driver license, state-issued ID card or U.S. Passport. But if for whatever reason these documents are not available, other documents including the student ID card will be considered.

While the student ID card can’t be used on its own, it’s an acceptable link in the chain nonetheless.

Using a university ID to orchestrate identity theft or other fraudulent activities is, of course, an extreme case. But universities should be mindful of the power that the credential can have when used for purposes beyond higher education or when cardholder information like birthdates or other sensitive data are included.

There’s a reason Social Security numbers don’t appear on the fronts of student IDs anymore, but as identity theft and fraud becomes more advanced, it may be worth it to pay additional attention to the student ID once more. If not for the sake of the cardholders, then it should be done to avoid the liability that a university could incur if its credential was used illegally.

The cards are great tools for accessing student-facing services both on and around campus, but their use may not be worth the risk when it comes to larger utilities at the state or federal level.

Even if the student credential were deemed a good fit for use beyond higher education, it would likely raise new questions when it comes to issuance. If the student ID is to maintain a place on the identity chain, then it would likely fall to the university to ensure that its link remains as strong as the others.

The simpler and perhaps safer option is to keep the student ID within the walls of campus, leaving those use cases that reach beyond the institution’s borders to other identity documents.

CBORD announced the release of CS Gold version 7, the company's modular ID card system, just a few short months ago. Version 7 marks the introduction of a number of significant technology upgrades, as well as some brand new features designed to boost operational efficiency and improve student services.

To help get the word out about the new enhancements to CS Gold, the company has released a series of informative videos in a playlist called "7 Reasons to Upgrade to CS Gold 7" on its YouTube channel.

The first of the features to be highlighted in the video series is CS Gold Version 7's newly designed metrics dashboard. The dashboard was specifically designed to mirror feedback from the current CS Gold user community.

The new dashboard is capable of tracking information for plans, transactions, patrons and locations. The full range of card transaction is covered in the dashboard, including access, financial, activities/events, meal plans, stored value and credit balances and mobile transactions. The dashboard also displays active locations, active patrons and the number of cards printed.

Campus administrators can tailor the dashboard to track and display the card office's and administration's interests. The dashboard interface clearly displays all the valid information in a variety of user friendly formats including a double pie chart format that compares patron count by meal plan or stored value/credit on year-to-year basis.

The rest of the video series highlights a variety of features including residence hall visitor management, online room reservations, thermostat control, LDAP for access and CBORD Mobile ID.

Atrium, one of the latest vendors to enter the campus card market, has announced new leadership within the company.

Citing personal reasons, former CEO James Doyle announced an early retirement from the Atrium Board. Effective immediately, Tammy Johnson will accept the role of interim CEO and President.

“We’re extremely grateful for the leadership James provided, and for his participation in proving the viability and competitiveness of the Atrium product. We look forward to his continued participation as an advisor as we work with our current clients and introduce new campus card administrators to our revolutionary product," says Johnson. "We remain committed to our core values of teamwork, integrity, customer support and providing innovative solutions for the campus ID market.”

Tammy Johnson has been the Chief Financial Officer of JSA Technologies since 2003, and joined Atrium as CFO and Partner at the time of the company's founding in 2012.

Atrium is backed by JSA Technologies, and is an extension of the card system technology in use today at over 100 universities and colleges nationwide. JSA Technologies provides online and mobile payment and account management solutions. Specializing in financial transactions for colleges and universities, JSA offers solutions for online ID Card account management, tuition payment and other bill payment applications.

A new mobile ID system for students is being implemented in Nigeria in an effort to improve exam validation processes and cut down on identity fraud. The West African Examinations Council is spearheading the project along with HID Global who will provide machine-readable smart cards to the more than 2.2 million Nigerian students that will enroll in the testing program.

Comprised of five member countries – Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia – The West African Examinations Council conducts public exams for primary, junior and senior secondary school levels; aptitude tests for institutions and corporate bodies; and issues results and certificates of completion for all administered exams. Each year, WAEC registers more than 2.2 million students for exams conducted at more than 13,000 testing centers across Nigeria alone.

A new system

Prior to the new system, exam registration and authorization was manual, time consuming and susceptible to fraud. Students registered online and were provided a paper receipt that would be manually inspected by a proctor at the time of testing. The system lacked a secure process to confirm that students were who they claimed to be.

Understandably, tracking and recording cases of identity fraud was difficult under these circumstances, so a new system was needed. WAEC turned to Lagos, Nigeria-based tech company, Botosoft, who commissioned HID Global to assist with the development and deployment of a secure card issuance and mobile ID system.

The solution to WAEC’s problem came in the form of online registration for an ID card that could then be read using a mobile device at each exam site. These cards would be valid only for the exam being held for that particular semester and expire immediately on completion of the final test. Without a valid card, students would not be allowed to take their exams.

As for getting the cards into students’ hands, WAEC needed a secure issuance system that could print as many as 1.8 million cards in the spring term and another 400,000 cards in the autumn. The cards also needed to be checked and authenticated at the examinations sites by local officials.

HID provided a custom solution that accepts the raw data from WAEC’s online enrollment process, validates the information, and prepares it for use in personalizing the cards at Botosoft’s facility. HID also assisted with the design and development of the mobile reader application software used in the project.

A new process

Under the new system students register online, only the information is now used to personalize and issue a machine-readable smart card to each student. This same information is also stored in a central biometric database that can be accessed in real-time by the mobile readers at the time of the exam.

To date, more than 15,000 mobile readers have been distributed to some 3,500 exam centers throughout Nigeria, enabling supervisors to identify and authenticate test takers by accessing student information from the HID smart card and validating it against the central database. Additionally, information about the testing process including date, time and the name of the testing center, is added to the student’s online records.

The WAEC student ID card features the name and photograph of the student and must be must presented to exam proctors at the exam center upon request. As an added layer of security, the cards feature multiple embedded technologies not visible to the naked eye, including:

To aid in the personalization and issuance of the new identification cards, HID provided both software and hardware solutions including FARGO DTC4500 and 4500 ID card printers/encoders. HID also provided hands-on training and support to the Botosoft production team.

For more information on the WAEC project, see HID’s full case study.

By Ron Campbell, CEO, NACAS

As an Association Executive, I meet a number of business leaders who believe their products can enhance services, support student outcomes and even expand revenue opportunities. I have also witnessed numerous innovations that have forced college administrators to re-think solutions and business relationships.

These companies and their emerging products should not be overlooked because of their lack of market share, but rather they should be embraced. In 2014, I visited many NACAS member institutions that were celebrating these partnerships, which delivered technology to address their operational challenges.

The boundaries in 2015 will be defined by how far you are willing to creatively expand the use of technology for your organization or institution.

But how do we identify partners, technologies and services prudently?

I believe that industry associations can, and should, play a key role. We have a tremendous responsibility to seek opportunities that provide learning and exposure for our members.

Associations will be tested as they seek out partnerships that deliver information and share new knowledge to support their membership. We must encourage the crossing of lines, and show by example that our association landscape is not a battlefield for membership, but rather that our member institutions are a landscape to be shared with one common purpose in mind – student outcomes.

NACAS has taken on the challenge of innovation.

We have partnered with CR80News in a very unique way to provide information to our membership. This information is critical to the work that our members are responsible for as it relates to campus services, campus identity and campus cards.

We are also collaborating with key business partners to host educational programs on campuses and extending a free invite to all who are willing to learn.

Finally, we are seeking out partnerships with other associations that allow our members the opportunity look at their institutional landscape with colleagues where mutual cooperation is plays a central role.

I am excited about 2015 and I look forward to learning more from our friends at CR80News and the spotlight that they shine on our institutions and business partners. In future issues, this column will allow our Auxiliary Service leaders to share ideas about how the student ID extends throughout the campus enterprise and across auxiliaries. Here’s to a great year filled with new ideas and innovations. 

CIDN logo reversed
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.

Join us, @NACCUorg, and @TouchNet to explore how campus card programs can successfully navigate the sales and procurement process. Join the webinar on June 6, 2 pm EDT.

Webinar: Learn how the University of Arizona uses campus cards, mobile ordering, kiosks, lockers, and robots to revolutionize campus dining. April 7, 2-2:30 EDT. Register Now at

Load More...
CampusIDNews is published by AVISIAN Publishing
315 E. Georgia St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301[email protected]
Use our contact form to submit tips, corrections, or questions to our team.
©2023 CampusIDNews. All rights reserved.