Cougar Cards in planning phases to have upgrades

Students can swipe in to access elevators using their Cougar Cards at residence halls.

Cougar Cards are in the planning phases to be updated. They will combine multiple cards students typically use on campus and combine into one “Campus Smart Card.” | Michael Slaten/The Cougar

The Cougar Card Advisory Committee plans to centralize the capabilities of the multiple cards students use to one “Campus Smart Card,” expanding the card’s purview to cover the functions of the Cougar Card and Metro Q-Card as well as allow students to access parking and transportation and purchase items from vending machines.

The committee stated in its October presentation that one of the key priorities for fiscal year 2018 is to implement the new Campus Smart Card, which will become an all-in-one card that students can utilize.

Currently, students may have to utilize multiple cards for various activities at campus. If students wish to purchase a soda from a vending machine, they can use their credit cards. Likewise, if students wants to ride the Metro system, they can utilize a student Metro Q-Card.

“The Cougar Cards we currently have are pretty basic in my opinion,” said exploratory studies freshman Jake Boone said. “All I use it for is the dining halls and to get into my residence hall.”

Exploratory Studies freshman Robin Kay said the Campus Smart Card will “make life on campus easier” by allowing students to use the Campus Smart Card to take the METRO rail or bus.

Other universities, such as Silicon Valley University and Auburn University, have begun to implement systems like the ones proposed. They feature more digitized versions of their student IDs with the option to add it to their mobile wallets. The University of Texas also has a Virtual ID system that allows students to utilize virtual IDs at some locations. 

The changes also include a potential increase in the student renewal fee for their Cougar Cards. The replacement fee for a Smart Card may be increased from $10 and extended to faculty and staff, according to the Oct. presentation by the Cougar Card Advisory Committee, to compensate for the added technologies in the card.

For students who frequently lose their card, like Psychology junior Tiffany Montano, this may present problems. Montano said she already thinks the $10 replacement fee for Cougar Cards is too much. She said she would just go without a Cougar Card until she absolutely needed one if the replacement fee was raised. 

Boone, however, is all for the change to Cougar Cards.

“I think that the change to Cougar Cards could be a huge step for student convenience,” Boone said. “It would be nice only needing to carry around a single card for all those things instead of two or three.”

In the CCAC Nov. meeting, TouchNet + Heartland OneCard was selected as the vendor for the new Campus Smart Card, according to the presentation made during the meeting.

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