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Modern uses for ID Card programs on campus

The functionality and usability of student ID cards has come a long way over the years. When I attended college, our student ID cards weren’t nearly as valuable as they are today. In fact, I distinctly remember my card serving three main purposes: to pay for a meal at the student dining hall, check out a library book and access the stationary bike at the campus gym.

We’re fortunate that the times have changed and that university ID card programs afford so much more in terms of efficiency, safety and security. School ID programs, specifically those tailored to universities, spread across multiple applications from the identification of faculty, students and visitors to integration with parking programs and access control systems. Here are just some of the ways that modern universities are implementing ID badge systems:

Identification Purposes: With the right ID card system in place, universities can use these cards for identity verification at exams and student voting booths; entry to athletic/recreational events such as basketball games and on-campus concerts; access to campus health care programs or legal services; and as photo ID credentials for admissions, student records and financial aid.

Access to Facilities: Schools are harnessing ID systems to control access to classroom buildings, recreational facilities, labs, student halls and dormitories. With security at the front of everyone’s mind, making certain that only authorized individuals can enter a building is imperative to the overall safety of a university campus. Advancements in access control systems ensure that unauthorized visitors cannot enter a building without a validated ID badge, which they must swipe at the entrance. Many universities also distribute visitor badges to prevent unidentified visitors.

Funds Management: As alluded to previously, school ID cards at my alma mater – University of Portland – were primarily used for meal plans, but now, cards go much further with regard to managing funds. Examples of contemporary student card features include distribution of financial aid funds, copy machine funds, laundry service funds and even debit card functionality for both on and off campus use. Employing ID badge systems as a funds management tool can also greatly reduce paper waste.

Other Uses: ID cards can also serve as parking permits, transit access cards and event discount cards for use at local restaurants, shops and movie theaters. Moreover, photo ID cards can act as an excellent attendance tracker – with bar code scanning – to keep up-to-date records of who attends classes, exams and campus events.

When considering the above functions, it is clear that the school ID card is not just a piece of plastic to be buried in one’s wallet: it’s a legitimate way for universities to protect students and staff, disburse funds and become greener campuses.

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