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UCard FAQ
UCard Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the most commonly asked UCard questions.

SpacerQ: UCARD QUESTIONS
SpacerQ: What is the UCard?
SpacerQ: How do I qualify for a UCard?
SpacerQ: What does it cost to get an initial UCard?
SpacerQ: How do I get my initial UCard?
SpacerQ: What should I do if my UCard is lost or stolen?
SpacerQ: What does it cost to get a replacement UCard?
SpacerQ: Can I reinstate an older UCard I have from a previous replacement?
SpacerQ: With a replacement UCard, does everything work immediately?
SpacerQ: How do I prevent damage to my UCard?
SpacerQ: Where can I find my UCard run number?
SpacerQ: UCARD DEBIT ACCOUNT QUESTIONS
SpacerQ: What is a UCard Debit Account?
SpacerQ: How do I qualify for a UCard Debit Account?
SpacerQ: What are the costs associated with a UCard Debit Account?
SpacerQ: How do I open my UCard Debit Account?
SpacerQ: Do I forfeit any unused funds at the end of the semester?
SpacerQ: How can I check my UCard Debit Account balance?
SpacerQ: How can I view my transaction history?
SpacerQ: Can I use my UCard to buy books off-campus?
SpacerQ: How do I withdraw funds from my UCard Debit Account?
SpacerQ: How do I close my UCard Debit Account?
SpacerQ: STUDENT ADVANTAGE QUESTIONS
SpacerQ: What is Student Advantage?
SpacerQ: How can I get SA discounts on bus tickets?
SpacerQ: DOOR ACCESS QUESTIONS
SpacerQ: What if my UCard fails to let me into my residence hall?
SpacerQ: What if my UCard fails to let me into the Du Bois Library?
SpacerQ: What if my UCard fails to let me into my library study carrel?
SpacerQ: What if my UCard fails to let me into a non-residential building?
SpacerQ: NEW CS GOLD CARD SYSTEM QUESTIONS



Q: UCARD QUESTIONS
A: The following questions refer to the UMass UCard
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Q: What is the UCard?
A: The UCard is the official UMass Amherst campus picture identification card. There is a student version for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing educations students. And there is a staff version for faculty, administration, and qualifying NENS (non-employee, non-student).
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Q: How do I qualify for a UCard?
A: The following groups qualify for a UCard:
  • Active undergraduate students
  • Active graduate students
  • Active continuing educations students taking for-credit classes
  • Active faculty
  • Active administrative staff
  • Qualifying NENS (non-employee, non student)

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Q: What does it cost to get an initial UCard?
A: The initial cost for a UCard depends on your relationship to the University.
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Traditional undergraduate and graduate students pay for their initial UCard as part of their entering fees. They do not pay anything at the time they receive their initial UCards.

  • Qualifying Continuing Education Students: Continuing education students do not pay for their initial UCard as part of their entering fees. They must pay $30 by cash or check, when receiving their initial UCards.

  • Faculty, Staff, and Qualifying NENS: UMass covers the cost of all employee and NENS UCards,. There are no costs to individual employees or NENS when they receive their initial staff UCards.

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Q: How do I get my initial UCard?
A: Before coming to the UCard Office, you must be an active student or staff and have a record in both SPIRE and the UCard system.
  • Students must be term activated and have registered for for-credit classes. Please note that if you just registered or were just term activated, it can take 1-2 business days before your record shows up in the UCard System.
  • Continuing Education students taking only non-credit/lifelong learning courses do not qualify for UCards

  • Employees must be active and on university payroll. Please note that if you were just put on payroll, it can take 2-3 business days before your record shows up in the UCard system.
  • Qualifying NENS (Non-Employees, Non-Students) must fill out and turn in completed NENS Request Forms to OIT (or IPO in cases where UMass is sponsoring their visas). OIT (or IPO) will give the NENS blue forms to bring to the UCard Office.

To receive your inital UCard, you must come to the UCard Office during normal business hours and have your picture taken.

  • The UCard Office must take your picture. The UCard Office does not accept id photos from other sources.
  • You must pick up your UCard in person. The UCard Office will not mail you your UCard, nor allow another person to pick it up for you.

Before taking your photo, you will need to provide the UCard staff with a current picture id, preferably a driver's license or passport.

  • Other picture identification is acceptable so long as it is current, has a clear picture, and includes both your name and birthdate.
  • If you cannot produce an acceptable picture id, you must provide official copies (not photocopies) of both your social security card and birth certificate.

In addition to a picture id, NENS will also need to provide a blue form issued by OIT or IPO.

Students registered through Continuing Education will also need to pay the $15 ($25 starting 02/01/08) id fee.
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Q: What should I do if my UCard is lost or stolen?
A: You should suspend your card immediately either over the web using the Online Card Office, or by phoning in your request.

To suspend your card over the web, log in to GET Funds, and then click on the "I Lost My Ccard" link under the "Quick Links" menu.

To suspend your card over the phone, call the UCard Office at (413) 545-0197 during normal business hours (M-F, 8:30am-5:00pm). Please note that you must use the web site to suspend your card outside normal business hours.

Please note that suspending your card online, or by calling the UCard Office will not suspend your residential door access privileges. These privileges are managed by Housing.

If you live in campus housing and your UCard is lost or stolen, you should contact the Housing Card Office at (413) 545-0194 during normal business hours, or (413) 545-0812 outside of normal business hours.
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Q: What does it cost to get a replacement UCard?
A: The cost for a replacement UCard depends both on your relationship to the university and the reason for getting the replacement.

Replacing a Lost/Stolen Student UCard (Normal Price):

  • Replacing a lost or stolen UCard costs $25.
  • The $25 replacement fee includes taking a new photo, if you so desire.

Replacing a Damaged Student UCard (Reduced Price):

  • Replacing a damaged UCard costs only $10.
  • To qualify for this reduced price, you must turn in your most current UCard before receiving your replacement UCard. If you do not turn in your most current card, the transaction will be treated as a lost/stolen replacement, and you will have to pay the normal replacement fee of $25.
  • You are not eligible for a new photo when replacing a damaged UCard. If you wish to take new photo, you will have to pay the normal replacement fee of $25.

Replacing a staff (employee/NENS) UCard:

  • UMass covers the cost of all employee and NENS UCards,. There are no costs to individual employees or NENS when they receive replacement staff UCards.

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Q: Can I reinstate an older UCard I have from a previous replacement?
A: Unfortunately no. When the UCard Office issues a replacement UCard for a lost/stolen card, the 16-digit run number associated with your UCard is changed. The previous 16-digit number is wiped from the system and will not ever be reinstated.

When you receive your replacement UCard, you will be advised to destroy your old card should you find it again. You should do this because you may become confused as to which UCard is actually the working one.

As all UCards are technically University property, you are only permitted to have one UCard at any given time. Previously replaced UCards that are turned in to, or presented to, the UCard Office will be collected and shredded.
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Q: With a replacement UCard, does everything work immediately?
A: It depends on the type of service:

Replacement UCards:
In the case of any replacement UCard, the 16-digit card number is changed. Most services, such as the meal plans and the UCard debit account, are managed within in the UCard system, and will continue to work without interruption. However, two specific services may not:

  • Door Access: Housing Services' residential door access system and the Physical Plant's door access systems are managed outside of the UCard system. It typically takes 1-2 hours before Housing gets the new card number, at which time your residential door access should resume. It takes one business day before the physical plant system is updated, so it will typically take one day before your new card works for doors in academic or administrative buildings for which you normally have access privileges.
  • 5-College Library Privileges: The 5-College Library system also lies outside of the UCard system. In the case of lost/stolen UCard replacements (not damaged UCard replacements) the 15-digit library barcode number is also changed to prevent anyone who might gain access to your old UCard from using it to borrow library materials in your name.

    The UMass Library only updates their barcode number database once per day. So if you encounter problems borrowing materials, it may be due to the fact that your record hasn't been updated with the new library barcode on your replacement UCard. Just bring your new UCard to the circulation desk, and library staff will manually update your record in their system.


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Q: How do I prevent damage to my UCard?
A: Protect your UCard from physical damage:
  • Store you UCard in a protective casing, either the sleeve we gave you, or some other protective covering. (The University Store sells a variety of these.) This will prevent scratches to
  • Do not store your UCard where it might get scratched, e.g. with credit cards that have raised numbers.
  • Do not bend, crack, or otherwise alter the shape of your UCard. Often storing your card in your back pocket will result in warping your card.
  • Do not use your UCard as a tool. It is not an ice scraper!
  • Do not punch holes in your UCard. This is especially true of the new iClass cards, as they contain a smart chip and an embedded antenna in addition to the magnetic stripe. Damaging any of those three, you will need to purchase a replacement card.
  • Avoid exposing your UCard to extreme heat or cold.
Protect your UCard from electronic damage:
  • Keep your UCard away from strong electrical fields, including computers, cell phones, etc.
  • Keep your UCard away from strong magnetic fields, including electric motors, etc.
  • Keep your UCard away from extreme heat or cold

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Q: Where can I find my UCard run number?
A: Older UCards have the 16-digit run number printed on the UCard itself. Staring in Summer 2010, this number is no longer printed on the card.

However you can look up your run number in SPIRE:

  • Log in to SPIRE
  • Click on My Personal Information
  • Click on UCard Information

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Q: UCARD DEBIT ACCOUNT QUESTIONS
A: The following questions refer to the UCard Debit Account.
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Q: What is a UCard Debit Account?
A: The UCard Debit Account is a UMass Amherst declining balance debit account. It is provided as a convenience to UMass community members, and is not intended as a replacement for cardholders' normal credit or debit cards.

The UCard Debit Account differs from bank-issued debit accounts in that:

  • it can only be used to make on-campus purchases
  • you cannot withdraw funds from it - funds must either be spent down, or the account must be closed
  • it cannot be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco products

Please note that using the debit account is completely optional. If you don't wish to use it, simply don't deposit any funds into it. Being a declining debit account, it will not function without available funds.
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Q: How do I qualify for a UCard Debit Account?
A: To qualify for a UCard Debit Account, you must:

  • have a valid UMass student or staff UCard
  • be an active UMass student, staff, or NENS
  • have filled out and turned in a completed UCard Debit Application
  • be at least 18 years of age (or have an adult parent/guardian co-signature on your debit account application)

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Q: What are the costs associated with a UCard Debit Account?
A: The UCard Debit Account is provided as a convenience to UMass students and employees. As such, there are no regular fees associated with the account.

However, account holders can be assessed fees for the following reasons:

  • $25 - Bounced check
  • $25 - Reversed credit card deposit
  • $10 - Closed account for reasons other than having left the university

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Q: How do I open my UCard Debit Account?
A: To open a UCard Debit Account, you must submit a completed UCard Debit Account application form. Paper forms are available at the UCard Office, and online and downloadable applications are available on the UCard web site. If you are under 18 years of age, you must also have a parent/guardian sign the form.

Students: All students fill out debit applications when they receive their initial UCards.

Staff and NENS: All staff and NENS are given debit account applications when they receive their initial UCards. Applying for a UCard Debit Account is optional.

Others: Visitors, guests, and others who do not qualify for a UCard can still obtain a Debit Account by purchasing a Guest Card from one of the several Value Transfer Stations (VTS) located on campus. You do not need to submit a debit application to purchase one of these cards. However, they have several drawbacks to UCard Debit Accounts:

  • Guest cards are anonymous. If you lose or damage your guest card, the funds on that card are lost.
  • Similarly, these funds cannot be refunded, even if you leave the university.
  • The only way to deposit funds on to a guest card is by making a cash deposit at a Value Transfer Station.

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Q: Do I forfeit any unused funds at the end of the semester?
A: UCard debit account balances roll over from semester and year to year until the cardholder either leaves the university, or requests that her account be closed. (See "How do I close my UCard Debit Account.")

Guest debit account balances also roll over in the same manner. However, if a guest card is unused for a continuous period of 12 months or longer, the balance may be forfeited.
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Q: How can I check my UCard Debit Account balance?
A: There are a few ways to find your UCard Debit Account balance:

  • On the Web: You can check your balance on the UCard Online Card Office by logging in to the new Get Funds site. If you have not yet registered to Get Funds, you will need to register first.

  • At Points of Sale: At points of sale, your UCard balance will be displayed automatically after every transaction.

  • At Value Ports: Value Ports (deposit kiosks) specifically allow you to check the balance of your debit account. Simply swipe or tap your card and it will present your balance.

  • At the UCard Office: You can request your UCard Debit Account balance from the UCard Office during normal business hours.

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Q: How can I view my transaction history?
A: The current UCard site now consists of two portions: the older Online Card Office, and the newer Get Funds site.

To check your transaction history prior to 08/08/12, then login to the Online Card Office You can also send a request to the UCard Office from your UMass email address, and we'll email you a report within 2-3 business days.

To check your transaction history after 08/07/12, then login to Get Funds You can also send a request to the UCard Office from your UMass email address, and we'll email you a report within 2-3 business days.
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Q: Can I use my UCard to buy books off-campus?
A: No. The UCard Debit Account is strictly an on-campus service. You cannot purchase books from an off-campus bookstore using your UCard.

However you can special order the books through the Textbook Annex, and use your UCard Debit Account to purchase them. It typically takes only a few days for special ordered books to arrive at the Textbook Annex.

Also, please be aware that you cannot withdraw funds from the UCard Debit Account. If you decide to purchase your books off-campus, the UCard Office cannot return the funds you already deposited into your UCard Debit Account. To get that money back, you would need to close your debit account completely. Even so, it would be 4-6 weeks before your refund check arrived at your home.
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Q: How do I withdraw funds from my UCard Debit Account?
A: Because UMass in not a banking institution, federal banking regulations prohibit withdrawals from UCard debit accounts.

The only way to get funds out of a UCard debit account, is by closing the account. Please see How do I close my UCard Debit Account for information on how to close your account.
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Q: How do I close my UCard Debit Account?
A: There are two ways that a UCard Debit Account can be closed:

  • Automatic Closure: A student's debit account is automatically closed the semester after the student graduates or withdraws from the university. A closing balance greater than $10 is refunded in full to the student. A closing balance less than $10 is forfeited. There is no fee associated with automatic account closure.

  • Requested Closure: Accounts can also be closed at the request of the cardholder. To request the UCard Office to close your debit account, you must either fill out a form in person at the UCard Office, or login to the UCard Online Card Office, and choose the Closed UCard Debit Account option from the Personalize section.

    A closing balance greater than $10 is refunded in full to the student. A closing balance less than $10 is forfeited. Please note that there is a $10 fee for closing accounts by request, with the exception of cardholders that have already left the university according to SPIRE. It typically takes 4-6 weeks before you will see your refund check.


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Q: STUDENT ADVANTAGE QUESTIONS
A: The following questions refer to the off-campus Student Advantage discount program.
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Q: What is Student Advantage?
A: Student Advantage is an optional nation-wide, off-campus merchant discount program that can be added to your UCard. Currently this program is marketed only to incoming freshmen.

If you are an incoming freshman this semester and are interested in learning more about adding Student Advantage to your UCard, please see the UCard Student Discount Advantage Program

If you are not an incoming freshman, but are still interested in Student Advantage, you can purchase a membership directly from them at the Student Advantage home page.
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Q: How can I get SA discounts on bus tickets?
A: Greyhound is both a participant in the Student Advantage program as well as partner of local Peter Pan bus lines. Students can get discounts on bus tickets by ordering them in advance on the Greyhound website.

See these brief instructions for details on how to get Student Advantage discounts when purchasing Greyhound bus tickets online.
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Q: DOOR ACCESS QUESTIONS
A: The following questions refer to the various UCard-based door access systems on campus.
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Q: What if my UCard fails to let me into my residence hall?
A: Residential door access failure can occur because of privilege, card, reader, or usage problems:

  • Door access might be improperly assigned to the UCard, or not assigned at all.
  • The UCard could be suspended.
  • The UCard might not be the most recent card.
  • The UCard could be damaged, e.g the internal antenna or smart chip could be broken.
  • The door access reader could be damaged.

All of these problems could individually, or collectively, cause a door access attempt to fail. To find out what the problem is, you should bring your UCard to the UCard Office to be tested.

Each cluster office has a small number of door access cards that can be issued to students who cannot get into their residence halls. However these are only temporary; the expectation is that you will purchase a replacement UCard at the UCard Office as soon as possible.
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Q: What if my UCard fails to let me into the Du Bois Library?
A: As of January 27, 2008, the W.E.B Du Bois requires students, faculty, and staff to use their UCards to access the building during the hours from 12am to 7am, Monday through Friday.

Should your card fail to let you into the building during these hours, you will be unable to access the building until after 7am. To test your UCard, bring it to the UCard Office during normal business hours.

Please note that if you are in a NENS (non-employee, non-student) role at the University, your UCard will not function for non-residential door access. The UCard Office is aware of this problem and working with both OIT and the Physical Plant to resolve the issue.
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Q: What if my UCard fails to let me into my library study carrel?
A: Some graduate students have been assigned study carrels at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library that have been fitted with UCard-based door access. This access is actually different from the residential and non-residential door access implemented elsewhere on campus. Specifically, the encoding is located on a different part of the magnetic stripe of the UCard.

If your UCard is not letting into your study carrel, you should bring your card to the Library Circulation Desk located on the entry level of the Du Bois Library for testing. Also, if you purchase a replacement UCard for any reason, you will need to bring your card to the Circulation Desk to have your new card encoded for carrel door access.

Please do not bring your UCard to the UCard Office to address carrel access issues, as we have no way of testing or encoding for that access.
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Q: What if my UCard fails to let me into a non-residential building?
A: Since the start of the Fall 2007 Semester, several academic and administrative buildings have been fitted with UCard-based door access. This access is assigned and managed by the Physical Plant based on departmental requests.

If your UCard does not let you into a non-residential building that you expected to have access to, you should bring your UCard, to the UCard Office during normal business hoursto have it tested.

If your UCard tests out fine at the UCard Office, then you should contact the Physical Plant Service Desk at (413) 545-0600 to ensure that your door access privileges have been correctly assigned to your UCard.
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Q: NEW CS GOLD CARD SYSTEM QUESTIONS
A:
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