Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

California school turns to software app to cut tardiness

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia, Calif. is using student IDs and smartphones as a means for students to earn certain privileges.

The program is called Student Scan Identification Card Authorization, or SSSICA. As ABC’s local Visalia affiliate reports, campus administrators greet students by scanning a bar code on the students’ IDs to determine whether they have permission to leave campus for lunch or attend school events such as a football game.

At such events, administrators will employ the same practice of scanning IDs with a smart phone. SSSICA is just the latest effort by the school to combat excessive tardies and keep track of students both on and off campus during lunch.

The app was created last summer by Mt. Whitney’s Assistant Principal Pete Chavez, and launched at the beginning of the school year. 

Stand up for your industry: DoE’s reg draft would cripple campus cards

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Department of Education released an initial draft of proposed changes to the Cash Management portion of the regulation governing title IV financial aid funds. The document includes a series of provisions that would dramatically impact the ways campuses could distribute funds to recipients, so much so, that in essence it would effectively outlaw some common card-based solutions.

At this stage, it’s imperative for every campus to closely examine the draft and determine how it could impact current processes. Moreover, any concerns should be shared with the Department of Education and the committee developing the proposed regs.

The time to have impact on the process is short, as the committee has an aggressive timeline, but voicing your opinion is invaluable to the process nonetheless. The next review meeting began March 26 and will continue through March 28. Though this was anticipated to be the final meeting of the negotiating committee, rumor is that one more meeting will be held in the coming weeks. Comments can be directed to the U.S. Department of Education’s lead negotiator for the project, Pamela Moran, at

The most significant changes are focused in section 668.163 Maintaining and Accounting for Funds. Specifically, part (e.) Sponsored account, contains a number of new requirements that would make it difficult or impossible to continue current practices. 

Financial aid and card regulations: The clause that could spell trouble

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Following the Department of Education’s first draft of proposed regulations on financial aid delivery and campus-issued cards, it is clear that there could be major repercussions should all the demands stand.

There is one section in particular that will likely be a point of contention between the Department of Education and the many private sector banking institutions and third-party providers that operate in the campus space.

Section (e) of the document, entitled “Sponsored Accounts,” stipulates how the entire process, from card issuance to federal aid disbursement, should transpire.

The first stipulation under clause would require every university to fully disclose the entire contract that it has in place with a financial institution or third-party provider.

Also, a partnering financial institution “may not send a debit card, prepaid card or access device associated with the account to a student or parent unless the student or parent specifically requests it after providing consent.” This requires double consent it seems, first to receive the account and then again to receive a card associated with the account.

Next, the debit or prepaid card issued to a student “may not bear the institution’s logo or mascot, or that otherwise implies an affiliation with the institution.” 

Desktop computer theft compromises personal data

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A theft at the University of California at San Francisco may compromise the personal data of some 10,000 people associated with the institution.

The university has sent letters to those it believes have been affected after one of its campuses fell victim to computer theft. UCSF reported that unencrypted desktop computers were stolen on January 11 from the UCSF Family Medicine Center in Lakeshore, Calif.

A technical analysis conducted by the university revealed that the stolen computers contained names, dates of birth, mailing addresses, medical record numbers, health insurance ID numbers and driver’s license numbers. More troubling still, Social Security numbers for 125 people were also on the computers. 

Card programs await feds' next move

Monday, March 24, 2014

Banking partnerships and financial aid delivery under scrutiny

In February 2014, the General Accountability Office released a report on debit and prepaid card programs on college campuses, urging the U.S. Congress and Department of Education to take action.

Campus banking relationships have been under fire for two years since the Public Research Interest Group (PIRG) released a critical report claiming that the programs take advantage of students. The GAO report examines the fees that the programs charge students, ATM accessibility and the programs’ transparency–or lack thereof. 

First draft of regs cuts debit card fees on campus cards

Monday, March 24, 2014

Regulatory action is being proposed in the campus-banking sector, with the U.S. Department of Education releasing its first draft of regulations on campus debit cards that will effectively prohibit certain fees, constrain marketing practices and institute transparency regarding the college-card provider relationship.

Under the new regulations – specifically Issue 4 - Cash Management – campuses issuing debit cards to students for access to federal aid would not be able to assess ATM usage, account maintenance, or overdraft fees. Moreover, universities would be obligated to post their agreements with debit card providers online. Lastly, colleges would not be able to “offer a debit card, prepaid card, or access device associated with the account that bears the institution’s logo or mascot, or that otherwise implies an affiliation with the institution.” 

University issues student IDs with cash and contactless feature

Friday, March 21, 2014

The University of New Brunswick is adding a unique feature to its campus ID by harkening back the oldest payment method around, cash.

The new university identification cards double as cash cards that can be used at selected businesses on campus. The new IDs have seemingly been a big hit, as an estimated 1,100 students have already made the switch to the new credential.

According to New Brunswick’s CBCNews, the new cards are also contactless, enabling students to make purchases at nine businesses throughout campus with a simple with a tap of their card. The university previously enlisted mag stripe cards and personal identification numbers.