Starting fall quarter, UC Davis will use AggieCard, a new campus identification card, to replace the current ID card used by students, faculty and staff. The university intends for the updated card to be multi-functional and have added features to the one currently in use.
In all, an estimated 30,000 students will re-card according to Kris Scivoletto, the customer service manager at the office of the registrar tasked with the implementation. Despite the scale of such an operation, he expects it to go smoothly.
“I don’t think there will be any trouble,” Scivoletto said. “As always there will be people on campus who don’t read their e-mail who will be surprised when they come back. It will become clear to anyone who doesn’t have a card to get one.”
The AggieCard contains the same exact functions as the current ID but will also allow holders to link it with their US Bank account for use as an ATM/debit card. According to Justin Ling, assistant director of marketing at Campus Unions, the feature is part of a partnership between UC Davis and US Bank signed in August 2009.
US Bank currently has similar agreements with over 50 universities across the nation.
Incoming freshmen and transfer students will receive their AggieCards throughout summer orientation. Continuing students can obtain theirs at scheduled re-carding events from Sept. 13 to Oct. 8 on the second floor of the Memorial Union.
New AggieCards can be activated at the Bookstore & Cowell Health Center, in the Dining Commons, Residence Halls and at Shields Library.
The current UC Davis ID card will still be usable throughout the summer sessions but campus services will shift to the AggieCard before the start of fall quarter. Starting Oct. 11, AggieCards will be available in an AggieCard Office on the first floor of the Memorial Union for those who fail to attend any of the re-carding events.
Although the card might be news to its holders, the campus has long looked at adding to the uses and benefits of the ID card. The AggieCard project began in 2004, said Ling in an e-mail interview, and the new ATM/debit feature is a product of negotiations between the campus and financial institutions dating back to 2005.
Although the process of replacing thousands of ID cards may raise concerns regarding the cost, the university expects to generate revenue from the effort. As part of the deal, US Bank will provide average investments of $280,000 to the university.
“The actual amount will be dependent on the number of checking or savings accounts that are activated with US Bank,” Ling said. “There is, however, a minimum payment of $176,000 that U.S. Bank must pay to the campus each year.”
The vice chancellor will allocate most of the funds to student service departments that have less flexible operating budgets, focus on campus climate or community development issues, or those assisting in academic retention.
The remainder will be given to Campus Recreation, MU Auxiliary Services, Intercollegiate Athletics and the Fountain and Vending fund for maintenance of lounges and vending machines.
For its part, US Bank will open six new ATMs on campus and replace an existing machine within the MU. In addition, US Bank will build a full service branch in the MU, which is scheduled to open Aug. 9 and gain access to sponsorship and marketing opportunities in Student Affairs.
Ling said Campus Unions is currently in discussions with the Games Area and the Coffee House to accept purchases with the AggieCard via student accounts, as is currently the case with Bookstore purchases. But he noted that nothing has been finalized.
Students who do not currently have debit cards are likely to be swayed by the terms of US Bank’s “Free Student Checking.” But those with existing accounts seem less interested in creating another.
“I’d get the student plan if it wasn’t my last year here and if I didn’t already have two accounts,” said Sean Dennehy, a senior physics major.
The convenience of having a debit card bundled with your ID is also likely to depend on the user.
“It is going to be very convenient for students to have both their debit and student ID cards all in one,” said Cydney Jones, a senior history major. “I carry my ID card with me every day; although, since I already have a separate debit card, I’m not sure I will use the new feature.”
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