Student ID Cards

Colleges and universities have been issuing student IDs for quite some time as a way to enhance campus security and provide basic student identification. Today’s student IDs, however, serve a range of functions that go far beyond the bare essentials. These days, it’s common for schools to incorporate their student ID cards with a variety of applications including meal plans, access control, library checkout, parking, and purchases both on and off campus.

In order to enhance student ID functionality, many schools use magnetic stripe encoding. Magnetic stripes securely store information that can be read when swiped through special readers. In a campus setting, these readers are typically found in dining halls, libraries, campus stores, and sometimes even vending machines.

Another form of ID card technology that is becoming more prominent on college campuses is the use of proximity cards. Proximity cards, unlike those with magnetic stripes, must simply be waived in front of a reader in order to trigger a response. In recent years, a number of schools have turned to proximity card technology as a way to secure dormitories and residence halls. By incorporating proximity cards with access control systems, a university is able to prevent unauthorized intruders from gaining access to student dorms and restricted facilities, while also providing students with the convenience of a secure, multifunctional student ID card.

When it comes to making purchases with a student ID, many schools have gone the route of establishing points programs, essentially providing student ID cards with debit-like functionality. These programs typically involve individual student accounts linked to each card. A student or parent can apply funds either at specific campus locations, or in some cases online. The cards can then be used for making purchases at campus stores, restaurants, and in many cases, participating off-campus businesses. Providing student IDs with purchasing power is a good way to cut down on student debt, and over-reliance on credit cards.