Drake University’s Bulldog Bucks program is now supporting student purchases at campus bookstores and for Uber fares via the student ID card. The new declining balance options join existing support for food, laundry and printing purchases.
As reported by The Times-Delphic, making a purchase via Bulldog Bucks is akin to a debit system, and the program’s expansion is a result of fairly light work on the backend. Drake’s card system vendor, Blackboard, manages the Bulldog Bucks program and according to university’s Student Services Center manager, Uber’s functionality with Blackboard — first announced last year — was a major reason for the addition of fare support in the declining balance program.
University bookstore company Follett, meanwhile, already had an established relationship with the card vendor, making the expansion into bookstore purchases a straightforward implementation.
“Bulldog Bucks are an account parents are more willing to put a little money on rather than just giving you a $100 bill or something like that,” said Sara Heijerman, Student Services Center manager, in a Times-Delphic interview. “They’ve also got basic toiletries and basic school supplies and things like that so if you’re in a little buying binge and want to grab something small at the bookstore, it might be convenient to use your Bulldog Bucks if you have your ID card versus using cash or money.”
In addition to being helpful for a ride around campus, the use of Bulldog Bucks for Uber fares is also being viewed as a useful service for when students are away on breaks. Using Bulldog Bucks for an Uber fare will be supported anywhere, not just on Drake’s campus or even in the surrounding city of Des Moines.
To enable the student ID for fare payment, students must first download the Uber app, and rather than adding a standard debit or credit card students can instead add their campus card as the preferred form of payment. Drake joins Vanderbilt University and a host of other institutions to tether the campus card to the Uber app.