Voter ID, proof of age, breeder doc use raise liability concerns
Issue dates are another piece of information that has been considered in the past. Huber feels universities should avoid printing an issue date on a campus card as this it could be another source of fraudulent use.
He says the same goes for expiration dates, which may also make for a more costly replacement process between notifications, scheduling, labor, cost of materials and student inconvenience. “Card validity should always be facilitated and documented electronically by the campus card system,” he says.
Fred Emery, vice president of OneCard sales at Heartland Campus Solutions, agrees when it comes to both birth dates and expiration dates. He says mobile applications and other terminals – rather than a visual check – should be used to verify these pieces of information in the modern world.
Thankfully, the days of printed or stickered expiration dates are over on the vast majority of college campuses.
“Some campuses we work with will print an expiration date on the card, however the majority of the campuses will use an online check against the database to verify expiration, student status or birth date as needed,” says Emery. “Personally I recommend that unless it is a requirement of local law for state use of the card, then a birth date should not be printed on the card to minimize possible liability and misuse.”
As for the voter ID issue, Huber sees this as more trouble than it’s worth for the university. “Voter regulations vary between states and are subject to fluctuating political and court decisions,” he says. This lack of standardization could result in costly and last-minute replacement of cards if rules change and the ID’s use is required for the function.
Beyond campus walls
The concern when it comes to the uses of a university ID beyond campus is whether or not fraudulent use is a realistic threat. Some insist that the last thing a university needs is for its credential to be used as a breeder document to obtain other official forms of identification. Others take a less stringent approach.
“I think this is dependent upon local laws and how it will be used,” says Heartland’s Emery. “It does add another level of complexity to the card since the campus now must accept greater responsibility for the accuracy of information portrayed on the card and within their system.”
Emery recommends that in states that allow the use of a campus ID as a substitute state credential, universities should ensure that adequate processes are in place to confirm student identity and restrict access to data held within the ID production system.
Blackboard’s Summerall agrees. “It would be up to the issuer of an ID as to whether or not the campus card offers sufficient proof of identity. As to be considered a breeder document, however, the risk would be very high,” he says.
“It would be highly unusual for an institution to offer the level of identity verification that would ensure the level of validity required by a city, state or federal agency responsible for credential issuance,” says Summerall. “The issuer’s risk tolerance would have to be quite high to support this, particularly with the relatively low security – e.g. lack of holographics, etc. – that most student IDs feature.”
The student ID has grown to encompass a great many functions on campus, and the possibilities continue to grow. But with this growth, experts say there should be limits.
Existing off-campus programs provide students with a valuable resource, while enabling the university to bring in revenue and forge a stronger relationship with local merchants. Beyond that, however, use of the student ID outside the campus confines carries with it liability that an institution may not want to inherit.
The question going forward, then, may not be if the student ID can be used beyond campus walls, but rather should it?