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SmartCard Student / Faculty Campus Cards for Colleges and Universities

The SmartCard is fast becoming the official identification card for Faculty, Staff and Students at many colleges and universities. The information contained on the SmartCard includes the name, staff/student identification number and a photo. It serves as "one card" identification  to access a variety of college departments such as campus recreation, library or residence facilities as well as handling payments for food services and laser printing.

A limited function (non ID) anonymous SmartCard is also available.


06/03 - Royal St. George's College in Toronto recently said it had been given technology by Ottawa-based CryptoCard and Toronto-based Electramedia that will allow it to offer smart cards its 430 students. Potentially their parents could use them to access a Web-based database portal.

The cards' first use would likely come in the library, where it could save librarians needless data entry work to access a student's records when they sign out a book. It may also be used in the lunchroom, where students who have paid for a meal plan go to eat. Right now, a staff member stands with a clipboard in the lunch line to make sure students not registered for the meal plan don't get a free lunch. Smart cards that keep this information on record could help eliminate the need for human intervention.

While CryptoCard will handle the smart card technology, Electramedia will use the same ATM protocol for Web site access to the database.

Parents protest radio ID tags for students

02/05 - SUTTER, California (AP) -- The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move. Some parents are outraged, fearing it will rob their children of privacy.

The badges introduced at Brittan Elementary School on January 18 rely on the same radio frequency and scanner technology that companies use to track livestock and product inventory.

While similar devices are being tested at several schools in Japan so parents can know when their children arrive and leave, Brittan appears to be the first U.S. school district to embrace such a monitoring system.

Civil libertarians hope to keep it that way.

"If this school doesn't stand up, then other schools might adopt it," Nicole Ozer, a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, warned school board members at a meeting Tuesday night. "You might be a small community, but you are one of the first communities to use this technology."

The system was imposed, without parental input, by the school as a way to simplify attendance-taking and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety. Principal Earnie Graham hopes to eventually add bar codes to the existing IDs so that students can use them to pay for cafeteria meals and check out library books.

But some parents see a system that can monitor their children's movements on campus as something straight out of Orwell.

"There is a way to make kids safer without making them feel like a piece of inventory," said Michael Cantrall, one of several angry parents who complained. "Are we trying to bring them up with respect and trust, or tell them that you can't trust anyone, you are always going to be monitored and someone is always going to be watching you?"

Cantrall said he told his children, in the 5th and 7th grades, not to wear the badges. He also filed a protest letter with the board and alerted the ACLU.

Graham, who also serves as the superintendent of the single-school district, told the parents that their children could be disciplined for boycotting the badges -- and that he doesn't understand what all their angst is about.

"Sometimes when you are on the cutting edge, you get caught," Graham said, recounting the angry phone calls and notes he has received from parents.

Each student is required to wear identification cards around their necks with their picture, name and grade and a wireless transmitter that beams their ID number to a teacher's handheld computer when the child passes under an antenna posted above a classroom door.

Graham also asked to have a chip reader installed in locker room bathrooms to reduce vandalism, although that reader is not functional yet. And while he has ordered everyone on campus to wear the badges, he said only the 7th and 8th grade classrooms are being monitored thus far.

In addition to the privacy concerns, parents are worried that the information on and inside the badges could wind up in the wrong hands and endanger their children, and that radio frequency technology might carry health risks.

Graham dismisses each objection, arguing that the devices do not emit any cancer-causing radioactivity, and that for now, they merely confirm that each child is in his or her classroom, rather than track them around the school like a global-positioning device.

The 15-digit ID number that confirms attendance is encrypted, he said, and not linked to other personal information such as an address or telephone number.

What's more, he says that it is within his power to set rules that promote a positive school environment: If he thinks ID badges will improve things, he says, then badges there will be.

"You know what it comes down to? I believe junior high students want to be stylish. This is not stylish," he said.

This latest adaptation of radio frequency ID technology was developed by InCom Corp., a local company co-founded by the parent of a former Brittan student, and some parents are suspicious about the financial relationship between the school and the company. InCom plans to promote it at a national convention of school administrators next month.

InCom has paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experiment, and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off, said the company's co-founder, Michael Dobson, who works as a technology specialist in the town's high school. Brittan's technology aide also works part-time for InCom.

Not everyone in this close-knit farming town northwest of Sacramento is against the system. Some said they welcomed the IDs as a security measure.

"This is not Mayberry. This is Sutter, California. Bad things can happen here," said Tim Crabtree, an area parent.

Biometrics for Student Access and Meal Payments

Several colleges and high schools are using biometrics scanners, which measure the swirls and ridges of a fingerprint but not the image itself, to stop non-students from sneaking into dining halls and gyms and also to automatically and swiftly identify and bill students for meal purchases. Now elementary schools are joining in, hoping that biometric scanners are a good way to keep lines moving and pay for meals. By moving kids through the lines faster they are getting more time to eat.

Administrators try to ease hygiene concerns by cleaning scanners with anti-bacterial wipes after each class and stressing that grade school students wash their hands before each meal. They also say the biometric fingerprint scanner makes it easier to identify children as opposed to a Social Security number or numeric code that's apt to be forgotten or overheard. New devices can now identify a child as young as 4 years old despite the smaller size of their fingers.

National Association of Campus Card Users -

CR80 News - reporting on campus card smart card use in Colleges and Universities

Colleges and Universities Smart Card Administration Offices for Campus Cards

Duke University DukeCard Smart Card Office

Elon University's Phoenix Card Smartcard Office

Clemson University ( South Carolina ) Tiger 1 Card TigerStripe Smartcard Office

Penn State Campus Card Smartcard Administration Office

BlackBoard Commerce Suite for Student Smartcards Campus Cards for Off Campus Payments

BbOne™ is a transaction–based outsourced solution that enables students and faculty to use the university ID card as a form of payment off campus. By utilizing an existing student discretionary account at the university, BbOne provides students with a safe, secure, cashless and convenient way to transact on and off campus, while assuring parents that their funds will be spent within a university–approved merchant network.

Blackboard develops a comprehensive off–campus merchant network on behalf of each university and manages every aspect of the program from merchant acquisition and funds settlement, to transaction terminal support, while simultaneously executing customized program marketing campaigns and Web site development to build the card program brand and drive deposits into the accounts.

Students that already use the Blackboard Transaction System to make payments at the cafeteria, bookstore, and even at neighboring retailers and restaurants can now use the same card to pay for laundry and receive all of the amenities for the e-Suds system including being able to see availability of washer and dryers online and get notified via email when their laundry cycles are complete.

NuVision Network’s iAMECS Advanced One Card campus card smartcard system provides campus data management, accounting, and meal plan control that integrates with Compass Technologies’ campus door access.

AMECS campus card program, which stands for Access Monitoring Eligibility and Control System, became iAMECS once it migrated to the Internet.

NuVision incorporates internal Video Imaging and ID card production, web portal, and POS software into its One Card System, eliminating the need for third party vendors. It naturally handles meal plans, determining a student's eligibility, etc., but it also includes accounting, ticketing, general access, voting, equipment checkout and with their Campus Center products even have parking modules and off campus shopping.

The off-campus program, NuVision Campus Center, has its own features which provide a way for a client to have an off-campus presence without spending any extra money for hardware. 

A student can order pizza online and have it all done electronically with no additional cost. The business never sees the student’s ID number. The order is faxed in with a picture so they know it's the right person when they deliver the pizza. Then it creates a report for the college that shows how much money is owed to the business.

While NuVision doesn't directly provide physical and logical access control, a partnership with Compass Technologies, a manufacturer of access control systems, gives it that expertise.

CardSmith Campus Card Turnkey System

After determining that purchasing and maintaining their own campus card system was cost prohibitive, Sweet Briar College decided that CardSmith had the capability to provide the same card functions at a fraction of the price.  Many schools are looking for ways to provide better services to their students, faculty and staff, and at the same time, reduce IT expenses, and employee issues.

CardSmith provided a turnkey approach by providing all the necessary marketing, a help line for users, and technical support for staff.

The college’s magnetic stripe card is currently used in the college’s two dining facilities, in the laundry, and for debit transactions.  They hope to have vending capabilities added, along with limited building access, as well as wireless capabilities using a handheld scanner to read student cards.

Sweet Briar did opt to produce its own cards, at “about a buck a card” using the IDMS card production system from Vision Database Systems and an Olympus digital camera. The reader is by ExaDigm, which has wireless capability.

The card can also be used just like a debit card.  You can use a credit card to put money on the card. The debit portion can be loaded via the web or by check or, if a Sweet Briar employee, by payroll deduction. All stores on campus take the card–the café, the Bistro (a mini-pub), library, laundry.