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Issuance at Albany: ID card replacements and temporary credentials

Lost, stolen and damaged student ID cards are commonplace at every institution, and that’ll be the reality for as long as we issue plastic credentials. But card replacement has seemingly been in overdrive at the University at Albany, SUNY where the university’s card office has replaced some 4,500 campus cards since January of this year.

That’s according to the Albany Student Press and a University Auxiliary Services report, which also reveals that over 11,000 total cards have been printed since January, with 44% being replacements. The number of card replacements peaked near the start of the spring and fall semester, with 753 replacements logged in January and 980 in August. Auxiliary Services officials expected these figures.

“The reasons that people report for having lost their card and the reasons that people report as to how their card has been damaged are — there’s a million of them,” said Michelle Schifley, senior director of Administration for Albany Auxiliary Services, in an Albany Student Press interview.

Normal wear and tear remains one of the most common reasons for a card replacements, but the odd ice-scraper incident still occurs. Schifley even recalls a more recent incident where an ID showed signs of being set on fire — needless to say, a replacement was necessary.

Temporary ID cards

One way that Albany has tried to navigate card replacement — particularly for times when the card office is closed — is with its “Dane It!” program, which issues temporary ID cards to students or staff that have misplaced or damaged their credential. Since the start of “Dane It!” temporary card program (Albany’s mascot is the great dane), the number of replacements has decreased.

The early iterations of the temporary ID card program didn’t connect the temporary card to the student account. Instead the temp cards only contained one, pre-programmed meal swipe. That early version of the system was deemed to be broken, however, as abuse of the system was difficult to track. The pre-programmed meals on the cards were not accounted for, students were unable to view transaction histories, usage was difficult to identify during investigations, and students didn’t have access to their other funds via the temporary cards.

After working with its card system vendor to modify its WebManager software, Albany Auxiliary Services created a more functional system. The program now allows Residential Life staff and University Police to issue temporary cards that are linked directly to a student’s account.

The temporary card program serves as a “back-up lifeline” during non-business hours. Students can receive the temporary Dane It! cards directly from University Police or a residence office when the ID Card Office is closed. The temporary cards provide access to residence halls and student meal plans.

When the card office reopens, students are required to return the temporary card to card office staff and follow the normal  process to replace their previously issued UAlbany ID Card. As of February 2016, the program was issuing some 225 temporary cards per month. Temporary IDs are active for three days, and the replacement cost for an official UAlbany ID Card is $20.

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