U-Card: Students can transfer cash, get discounts

For students, life without a UCard will fast become an impossibility.

The central role the UCard plays in the daily routine of students and faculty is reflected by the office’s location in Union 154-at the hub of student activity.

In addition to providing students with access to computer labs and dining halls, the UCard is the only way to check books out at the three campus libraries.

Though the UCard system is decades old, the technology behind the cards has undergone a recent facelift.

Beginning Fall 2004, the magnetic stripes on the back of every card will be used to hold up to $100 of UCash, which will enable students to make purchases at various campus locations such as the bookstore and the Union food court without having to use cash.

The improved capacity of the cards’ magnetic stripes replace the old UChip system, lowering the cost of replacing a card from $25 to $10.

For every incoming student, the UCard office should be among the first stops. In addition to being provided with a card, students will also have the opportunity to open a CitiBank account within the office, expanding the card’s capabilites even further. Students also don’t have to worry about any personal information being revealed through the UCard since the system doesn’t require Social Security numbers or other petinent personal data. Instead, students and faculty will find a sequentially unduplicated eight digit code that becomes a means of identifying individual U students, faculty and staff.

The UCard’s benefits and importance also spread beyond basic everyday transactions by providing students a way to enjoy athletic events like football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball matches and gymnastic meets free of charge.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah also has plans to collaborate with the UCard office to expand the card’s capabilites.

ASUU Director of Student Services John Poelman said he proposed a program which would enable local vendors to obtain the hardware used to read UCards like credit cards, broadening the system’s range off campus and into the local community.

For more information about the UCard, contact Union 154 at 581 CARD or visit the Web site at www. ucard.utah.edu.