Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

I want my magstripe card!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

As more and more schools make the transition to smart cards, it’s easy to forget that some universities are quite happy with their mag-stripe cards. An article at Assa Abloy’s Future Lab Web site points out that some colleges have withstood moving to smart cards, either because it’s too expensive or students and faculty haven’t asked for them.

Even though smart cards offer a higher level of security and flexibility, many campuses are reluctant to give up their traditional keys, let alone magnetic stripe cards.


North Georgia College and State University, for example, still uses keys in about 70% of its classrooms, but that will decline to 40% as the school moves toward electronic access control. Still, the university’s technology upgrades won’t include a smart card. Mag-stripe cards are still the school’s card of choice.

“Students don’t know the difference between magnetic stripe and smart cards,” says a university spokesperson. “And unless they start wanting a lot more information directly on their cards, we won’t be going to smart cards anytime soon.” Another reason, of course is price with the cost of a smart card nearly double that of mag-stripe cards.

Valdosta State has been using magnetic stripe cards since 1992 and while the equipment may have shifted from offline to online since then, not much else has changed.

“We talked about going to smart cards in the past but there wasn’t a big enough interest from the student government,” said a school spokesperson. “The mag-stripe cards are convenient. We use them for everything from debit accounts to sporting events.” Read more here[end] 

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