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10 | Cover Story |


4 | Perspective | Campuses need to self regulate 6 | ID Shorts | News and posts from the web


10 | Cover story | Under the microscope: Campus card banking 16 | Security | Campuses pilot NFC for access control


18 | Business | Campus card pricing: How providers charge for services 22 | Banking | NC State goes prepaid for student ID 24 | Case studies | Tulane makes a ‘splash’ with contactless ID 26 | Technology | Contactless failure on campus? 28 | Technology | Married to the mag: Tech continues to meet campus needs 32 | Security | Princeton takes contactless access control to the interior door 34 | Research | Benchmarking the campus card office


27 Off Campus Solutions

35 The CBORD Group


5 Datacard Group

13 SALTO Systems

23 Heartland Campus Solutions

29 U.S. Bank

36 HID Global

9 Wells Fargo


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EXECUTIVE EDITOR & PUBLISHER Chris Corum, EDITOR Zack Martin, ASSOCIATE EDITOR Andy Williams, CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ryan Clary, Liset Cruz, Jill Jaracz, Gina Jordan, Ross Mathis, Denise Trowbridge ART DIRECTION TEAM Franco Castillo, Ryan Kline ADVERTISING SALES Chris Corum, Sales Department, SUBSCRIPTIONS CR80News is free to qualified professionals in the U.S. For those who do not qualify for a free subscription, the annual rate is US$29 ($59 outside the U.S.). Visit for subscription information. No subscription agency is authorized to solicit or take orders for subscriptions. Postmaster: Send address changes to AVISIAN Inc., 315 E. Georgia Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301. ABOUT CR80News CR80News is published twice a year by AVISIAN Inc., 315 E. Georgia Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301. Chris Corum, President and CEO. Circulation records are maintained at AVISIAN Inc., 315 E. Georgia Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301. Copyright 2012 by AVISIAN Inc. All material contained herein is protected by copyright laws and owned by AVISIAN Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. The inclusion or exclusion of any does not mean that the publisher advocates or rejects its use. While considerable care is taken in the production of this and all issues, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions, unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork, etc. AVISIAN Inc. is not liable for the content or representations in submitted advertisements or for transcription or reproduction errors. EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Submissions for positions on our editorial advisory board will be accepted by email only. Please send your qualifications to info@AVISIAN.



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CAMPUSES NEED TO SELF REGULATE Two questions to ask when rolling out new student services ZACK MARTIN, EDITOR, AVISIAN PUBLICATIONS

A report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group on campus banking relationships has been the biggest news to hit the industry in some time. The report claims students are paying inappropriately high fees to financial services companies, and it suggests that campus decision makers are allowing it to happen in exchange for a share of the proceeds. But the PIRG report takes too many liberties and some of its findings are simply misguided. Comparing financial aid dispersal products and campus card banking partnerships is comparing two different things. In addition, it dances around the fact that students can always choose not to participate. Still, repercussions from the report will impact the industry for months if not years to come. Members of Congress are looking at contracts between campuses and providers, and there’s the real possibility of strengthened regulatory control from the U.S. Department of Education. As a student who benefited from federally-backed student loans, I understand the importance of this money and the impact it can have on future finances. Losing any aid money to fees is tough, and paying it back with compounding interest for years to come would be frustrating. But the idea that Congress is looking at this is galling. Congres-

sional staffs are spending time and resources meeting with vendors, pouring over contracts and beating the consumer advocacy drum. I am hard pressed to believe that this is the best use of taxpayer money. I have to think it all could have been avoided. If campus decision makers made better choices the industry wouldn’t be defending itself to Congress. Either the products in question are good and fairly priced or they are not. There is a simple litmus test to apply when making decisions on new products: Ask yourself if this good for my campus? Then ask if it is good for my students? If the answer is no to either question, look elsewhere for a better solution. I am not qualified to pass judgment on the merits of these specific products or services. Likely some are good and some are not. But if institutions self regulate and avoid products and services that don’t benefit both sides of the value chain, others won’t see the need to step in and regulate for them.

























Security. Speed. Reliability. Whatever you want in a school ID system, you’ll get it from Datacard Group: Industry-leading Datacard® ID card printers, software and supplies, plus our 40 years of experience serving the education community. Get started by contacting the authorized Datacard provider near you at +1.800.621.6971, or visit Datacard is a registered trademark and/or service mark of DataCard Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. ©2012 DataCard Corporation. All rights reserved.



ID’ING POTENTIAL DROPOUTS THROUGH CAMPUS CARD TRANSACTION LOGS Tracking a student’s buying habits through his campus card usage could enable college administrators to spot warning signs that the student may eventually drop out of college. But is such data gathering a violation of privacy? Arizona State University professor Matt Pittinsky believes tracking students’ movements and purchases on campus through their student ID card could show which students may be on their way towards quitting college. According to a report, Pittinsky’s research could help colleges identify struggling students earlier allowing them to provide assistance. Pittinsky gives the example of a student’s visits to Starbucks. If the student has a history of buying a cup of coffee

IS SUCH DATA GATHERING A VIOLATION OF PRIVACY? every day before a class and then suddenly stops, and at the same time diverges from a normal pattern campus card web



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site access, this would be a sign that an adviser should reach out to the student. Pittinsky was a co-founder of Blackboard so he is no stranger to the powerful applications of campus card data. He is currently doing research with a set of anonymous campus card transaction data in an effort to test his ideas. The privacy problem, of course, is that in order to spot danger signs the institution could have to comb through records of everything the student has bought and every facility he has accessed. Certainly, however, a well designed system could highlight those in need without exposing unnecessary details.

ing expiration date stickers that can be affixed to the student IDs. Legal challenges in Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina and Virginia have put the laws there on hold. Voter ID proponents say these laws are needed to combat voter fraud. The intent, they say, is to make sure people who are voting are who they say they are and have the right to vote. “In this day and age, nothing could be more rational than requiring a photo ID when voters come to the polls,” Pennsylvania’s senior deputy attorney general, Patrick Cawley, said recently when defending the state’s new law in court.



As the November election draws nearer, college students in some states still aren’t sure what kind of identification they’ll need to vote. Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Indiana and Georgia are among states with voter ID requirements in place. So far, Tennessee is the only state that bans use of any student ID. Others limit use to state institutions or require proof that the ID is valid, such as an expiration date. Pennsylvania enables student IDs to be used at the polls as long as the cards include expiration dates. To meet that requirement, many schools are provid-

Campus card provider CBORD integrated its Odyssey PCS campus card system with Shop24’s self-contained, automated, robotic and refrigerated convenience stores. With the swipe of an ID, students have 24/7 access to items such as snacks, cleaning supplies and even medicine. “We recently installed a Shop24 robotic convenience store on our campus,” said Diane Williams, SUNY Oneonta Auxiliary Services executive director. “Students love the convenience of using their campus ID dining card for late-night snacks or lunch on the run.”


Since the Shop24 terminals are automated, no extra staffing resources are needed and the standalone operations can drive revenue. Shop24 is a member of the CBORD Xchange Program, a network of technology partners.

EDUKAN ADDS BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGY TO DETER STUDENT CHEATING Administrators at eduKan, a consortium of six Kansas colleges created to offer online courses, are using biometrics to discourage cheating in the schools’ distance education programs. BioSig-ID, a software only biometric solution, enables the colleges to determine that the student taking the test is the student who actually registered for the course. “We felt it was necessary to use technology to proactively deter cheating,” said eduKan CEO Mark Sarver. “We wanted to make sure that this built-in security measure would not be cumbersome or intrusive and be cost-effective.” According to Jeffrey Maynard, CEO of Biometric Signature ID, the technology does not require additional hardware or software to be installed, and any PC or mobile device can be used to accept the unique movements made with the mouse, stylus or touchpad to provide student identification. Once students have created their BioSig-ID password, it is used to validate the student. This validation along with an audit trail reporting system can help identify anomalies.

DENVER SCHOOL GOES CONTACTLESS WITH MULTICARD Multicard is implementing a new, secure identity card platform for the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) Campus in Denver. The new contactless smart cards initially will be utilized within the campus’s existing door access system. The cards

are based on open standard technology, enabling flexible addition of new applications over time. Students with a campus bank account can use the IDs as a Visa debit card. Other planned applications include parking, meal payment, library checkout, event management and various tracking capabilities for lab and recreational center use as well as emergency incidents. The AHEC Campus is located in the heart of the Denver Metro area, hosting three separate educational institutions: the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver and the University of Colorado-Denver. The campus serves more than 45,000 students, faculty and staff on an annual basis.

HEARTLAND SIGNS UP 15 HIGHER ED INSTITUTIONS Heartland Payment Systems added 15 more colleges, universities and community colleges to its Campus OneCard campus management system. With a combined enrollment of more than 106,000 students, Heartland’s new schools include: College of Mount Saint Vincent, Dutchess Community College, Monroe College and Marist College, all in New

York; Hagerstown Community College, Maryland; Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, St. Philip’s College and San Antonio College, all in Texas; Southern Polytechnic State University, Georgia; Trevecca Nazarene University, Tennessee; University of the Sciences and Waynesburg University, Pennsylvania; and Northwestern State University of Louisiana.

CARDSMITH ACQUIRES VISION DATABASE SYSTEMS CardSmith purchased Vision Database Systems, a Jupiter, Fla.-based ID card issuance and mobile solutions provider. VDS will become a wholly owned subsidiary of CardSmith and VDS founder Emil Bonaduce will continue to serve as its president. He will also assume the additional duties of vice president of corporate development for CardSmith. All Vision Database Systems staff will join CardSmith, and business will continue as usual for customers and suppliers, says Jay Summerall, CardSmith’s president. Summerall says Vision Database’s card production and verification solutions are complementary to CardSmith’s cloud transaction service, and the merger will lead to continued development of products involving contactless and mobile payments.

ID NOW REQUIRED TO ACCESS PENN STATE RECREATIONAL FACILITIES In light of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal at Penn State, the school has implemented a new policy that restricts the public from using on-campus recreational facilities. A Penn State student or faculty/staff/retiree ID card will now be required for anyone to gain access to these rec facilities. According to a report from, the policy was implemented July 11, two days before the release of the university-commissioned Freeh Report that outlined who knew what and when concerning the Sandusky scandal. “The University’s new facilities policy is an important part of an overall plan to provide the safest environment possible to our constituents, and also re-emphasizes our commitment to offer athletic and recreational space for the use of our students, faculty, staff and their guests,” said Steve Shelow, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety.

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“Penn State athletics has proactively pursued this important change in university policy,” said Dave Joyner, acting athletic director. “This is the latest step in our department’s efforts to strengthen the safety and security of our facilities for students.”

CBORD, ASSA ABLOY INTEGRATE LOCKS AND SOFTWARE The CBORD Group and ASSA ABLOY announced integration between CBORD’s CS Access access control software solution and IP-enabled locks from ASSA ABLOY Group brands SARGENT and Corbin Russwin. ASSA ABLOY’s range of IP-enabled locks includes SARGENT Passport 1000 and Profile Series, as well as Corbin Russwin Access 700 and Access 800 locks. Wi-Fi locks enable access control in loca-

tions where it would be difficult or costprohibitive to install wired locks, while Power-over-Ethernet locks utilize existing network infrastructure for both lock power and secure access data. “The Wi-Fi locks have been a great fit in our Athletics department,” says James Garcia, manager of Maintenance and Construction Services at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. “They give us greater security than metal keys, they let us track who goes in and out of the locker rooms, and they are easy to install on surfaces where it is difficult to run cable.” Through integration with CS Access, the locks can be monitored and managed from within the CS Access application.

tification, door security, commerce and campus payment into a single contactless card. The new BearPass ID card uses Sony’s FeliCa contactless technology and works with Blackboard-enabled smart card readers – which also support magnetic stripe technology – for faster and more secure transactions. More than 25,000 students, faculty and administrators will now be able to pay for purchases and enter buildings with a tap of their ID card.


Both Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee are revamping their campus cards with the help of CardSmith. Saint Joseph’s new Hawk Card will offer the university’s 9,000 students cashless access to an expanded range of campus facilities and services including the bookstore, dining venues, vending machines, print and copy services, mobile payments, campus offices and off-campus merchants. The new Rattler Card will offer similar payment opportunities to more than 13,000 students. Both cards will also be used for facility and library privileges and can function as a bank debit card.

Lenel will integrate HID Global’s EasyLobby Secure Visitor Management software with its OnGuard access control application to enable end users to grant different levels of access to visitors, contractors and employees. When a visitor or contractor is badged using EasyLobby, the information is automatically passed from the system’s database to OnGuard, and the ID, prox card or bar code is activated in real-time. When visitors check out of EasyLobby, the OnGuard system is immediately notified and the card is deactivated. The integration between EasyLobby and the OnGuard eliminates the need for lobby attendants to have direct access into the physical security system.

MISSOURI STATE CHOOSES BLACKBOARD FOR CONTACTLESS CARD SYSTEM Missouri State University selected Blackboard Transact to implement a contactless student ID card. This enables the new system to integrate student iden-



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Explore online for up-to-the-minute news and insight on identity and security technologies for the campus and university market. Articles, podcasts and videos are added daily at

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CAMPUS CARD BANKING Following the controversial report from U.S. PIRG, Congress investigates both campus card banking partnerships and financial aid dispersal. Is the future of these products in doubt? JILL JARACZ, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, AVISIAN PUBLICATIONS



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s campuses have embraced electronic distribution of financial aid and banking services tied to student ID cards, a question has emerged. Are students forced to pay more for the convenience? The U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund says ‘yes,’ suggesting that college students have been unfairly targeted for extra fees to the financial benefit of both banks and universities.

But vendors serving the higher education community and many campus administrators vehemently deny these allegations. They argue that campusfocused financial products actually save students money and offer significant benefits. In a June 2012 report entitled “The Campus Debit Card Trap: Are Bank Partnerships Fair to Students?” the U.S. PIRG asserts that university and bank partnerships offering financial products to students are unfair and should be curtailed. The researchers examined both student ID card and bank partnerships as well as student loan disbursements that are tied to a bank account, debit card or reloadable prepaid card. Officials in Washington have taken note of the report. This summer Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and two other congressmen sent letters to 15 financial institutions and third-party financial providers that supply campus debit and prepaid cards to colleges and universities. The financial institutions were asked to provide a list of all colleges and universities with which they provide debit or prepaid card services to students. They also requested copies of the individual contracts, a breakdown of debit or prepaid card fees and the terms provided to students at each institution. According to the release posted on the Web site of the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the three legislators “expressed concern about fees” associated with prepaid or debit cards provided to colleges. They called for the contracts to be made public.

PROVIDERS MAKING PROACTIVE FEE CHANGES The companies that provide these services have been forced to take notice. Though many have called the report misleading for lumping together very different financial products and the spectrum of providers, some have even begun to announce changes to their financial aid dispersal products. Heartland Payment Systems eliminated three separate fees from its Acceluraid electronic financial aid disbursement solution – a $30 dispute fee, a $1 bill pay fee, and a 50-cent card-to-card transfer fee. In a release announcing the fee changes, Ron Farmer, executive director of campus solutions and micropayments for Heartland Payment Systems, acknowledged that campus administrators are feeling the heat about student expenses. “Heartland is helping them and the student,” he said, “by eliminating these fees so both parties have fewer potential expenses to worry about.” Higher One, the most vilified in the financial aid discussion, has started to make changes too. The company released a statement that it intends to comply with the Pew Charitable Trust guidelines for “Safe Checking in the Electronic Age,” that calls for financial institutions to standardize their disclosure forms. Another change eliminates the often-criticized fee for PIN-based debit transactions for two of Higher One’s account offerings. The company’s two accounts that assess a monthly fee – Flex at $5.95 per month and Premier

at $9.95 per month – do not charge for PIN-based transactions. The free basic OneAcccount continues to include a .50-cent fee for PIN-based transactions made at the point of sale. It also clarified its over draft protection/non-sufficient fee policies. Higher One does not offer overdraft protection on any accounts. This is a form of credit and Higher One has never issued any lines of credit to customers. The company does still assess a $29 non-sufficient funds fee if a student writes a check or has a recurring payment set up on an account that doesn’t have the funds available, says a company spokesperson. If a student attempts to make a transaction using the card and the funds are not available they will not be charged the fee, instead the transaction will be declined. The spokesperson told CR80News that other fee changes are on the horizon.

REPORT ASSERTS The U.S. PIRG report states that nearly 900 schools with more than nine million students nationwide have partnerships with banks or other financial firms. These include 32 of the 50 largest public four-year universities, 26 of the 50 largest community colleges and six of the 20 largest private not-for-profit schools. In total, these banking partnerships reach 42% of the student population. Though the U.S. PIRG contends that universities and financial services companies make a lot of money from these partnerships, not all parties agree. Most financial institutions working with campus card programs describe

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long-term relationship building with young, soon-to-be professionals as the driver for these programs. Short-term profit windfalls simply don’t exist, according to representatives from several of these institutions. Wells Fargo has relationships with 40 colleges and universities across the country and views college partnerships as a way to teach new users about financial services products. “[We] are being introduced to students, many looking for their first financial institution. We serve their needs, and hopefully they’ll be lifelong customers and build healthy financial habits,” says Richele J. Messick, spokesperson for Wells Fargo. Most of Wells Fargo’s university partnerships are connected to student ID card services rather than dedicated exclusively to financial aid delivery. The U.S. PIRG report states that when student ID services become connected to financial options such as open-loop debit cards, it “may mean that a bank/ financial aid firm has taken over the process of issuing IDs at the school.” Wells Fargo contends that this is not the reality of the relationship and that the banking aspect of a student ID is optional. “The student is the one who has the choice,” says Messick. “You don’t have to link a campus ID to a Wells Fargo account.” When the student opts not to turn on the banking feature of an ID, it still contains all the other campus services, but just doesn’t function as a debit card.

PIRG’S FOCUS ON FEES The crux of the U.S. PIRG report focuses on fees related to these types of cards as well as debit cards related to student loan disbursements. The report says that universities are increasingly moving to debit cards as a way to give students their loan money, but by using cards as a form of disbursement, students are at risk of incurring fees. PIRG sees this as a problem when the dollars in question comes from taxpayer-



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provided grants and federal loans. U.S. PIRG says this money is designed to go to lower income students who can’t afford the fees tied to these accounts.

The Campus Debit Card Trap Are Bank Partnerships Fair To Students?

The Department of Education allows for federally funded student loans to be disbursed via a payment card but stipulates that this is only acceptable “as long as the issuing bank provides conveniently located fee-free ATMs.” The idea is that students should have free and unfettered access to their aid dollars. The U.S. PIRG report contends that “convenient” and “fee-free” ATMs still cause problems when lines get too long or cash runs out. It cites that Higher One has agreements at around 520 schools, but has just 600 ATMs in service. At peak disbursement times, the report claims students queue up in long lines to access their money free of charge, and demand can be greater than the supply of money. This forces some to incur fees of up to $5 because they end up using out-ofnetwork ATMs to get their loan funds. Since the report was released Higher One announced that more than 700 ATMs are in the field. The company says that if

an institution’s Higher One ATM is not operational or is out of cash at any time, it will reimburse OneAccount holders at their request for up to $5 per day for fees charged at other ATMs. In contrast to the report’s portrayal of students waiting 50 deep in line at a single fee-free

THE CRUX OF THE U.S. PIRG REPORT FOCUSES ON FEES RELATED TO DEBIT CARDS AND STUDENT LOAN DISBURSEMENTS ATM on a campus, most providers boast large ATM networks to support student accounts. U.S. Bank has 23,000 ATMs across the country, Wells Fargo has more than 12,000, and both Blackboard and Sallie Mae offer more than 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs via membership in the Allpoint Network. Blackboard, a long time player in the closed-loop off-campus market with their BbOne offering, launched their financial aid delivery product called BlackboardPay in 2010. The company’s more recent entry to this specific service area gave them a different perspective on financial aid delivery, says Jeff Staples, vice president of market development for Blackboard. “We committed to deliver a product that best helped students gain access to their Title IV funds,” says Staples. “We looked at the market and asked how we could best serve both the campus and the student … and not at the expense of one over the other.” Blackboard points to the prepaid platforms from Money Network and Discover as “new tools” they were able to call upon in the creation of the BlackboardPay. These tools provide features

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they say are not typically found in older debit solutions. According to Staples, BlackboardPay doesn’t charge a PIN debit fee, there is no possibility of overdraft and there are no minimum balance or monthly service fees for active cardholders. Students can access the funds at no cost in numerous ways:  Merchant purchases at more than 7 million Discover locations,  Cash withdraws from more than 43,000 surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs,  Money Network Checks to any payee including free check-cashing privileges at more than 3,800 WalMarts nationwide. “Seeking technical compliance with Title IV with a few hundred ATMs isn’t really the same as serving the students’ needs with more than 40,000 ATMs plus ATMs deployed on campus,” Staples says. “We think the campus and students deserve the best offering and fee schedule available, not something that’s simply better than average.”

PERCEPTION OF MANDATORY PARTICIPATION Compelling students to opt for these branded debit cards is another unfair practice, cites the U.S. PIRG report because it opens up students, “already vulnerable as consumers in this area,” to the risk of incurring extra fees, such as hefty overdraft fees and PIN swipe fees. This may be a young student’s first experience with a financial institution, and the report says that confusing fee structures for these accounts can cost students a lot of money in “hidden” fees. Most providers of these services take offense to the concept that fees are hidden. Virtually all providers list fees online and provide documentation of fees at multiple points in the process. Financial accounts, like other services, are not free and have fees associated with them. Even so-called “fee-free” accounts typically have fees for out-of-the-norm activities or improper usage.



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“Higher One is not a bank, so cannot speak for those banks named and examined in the study, but Higher One’s offerings do adhere to the fundamental principles discussed by U.S. PIRG in its study, including: 1) providing students with choices, 2) being transparent about how accounts are structured, and 3) enabling colleges and universities to comply with the Department of Education’s standing regulations as they relate to the

quirements and no monthly fees. It doesn’t require a background check. “Many students find this appealing,” says Shoba Lemoine, spokesperson for Higher One. Higher One OneAccount customers get a Debit MasterCard, which has a 50-cent fee for PIN-based transactions. “We encourage students to choose free signature-based transactions at the point of sale because they are protected with

THE REPORT FAILS TO ADEQUATELY RECOGNIZE THAT STUDENTS HAVE A CHOICE IN DECIDING WHERE AND HOW TO MANAGE PERSONAL BANKING electronic disbursement of Title IV funds to students,” says Miles Lasater, COO of Higher One in an e-mail statement. The unfair fees described in the U.S. PIRG’s report are not unlike fees paid by traditional consumers for traditional banking accounts. Virtually all accounts charge for using foreign ATMs and for overdrafting an account. Many banks also charge traditional customers monthly fees for checking accounts. Some banks mitigate those fees for students by offering them accounts with lower fees than the institution’s traditional checking account. At $3 a month, Wells Fargo’s college checking account is less than its next cheapest account, Value Checking, which costs between $7 and $9 per month. Other checking packages that combine savings and debit can cost $10 to $12 per month. The college account includes many benefits of other checking packages, such as checking, savings, a debit card, online bill pay, mobile banking and text account alerts. Higher One’s entry-level checking account has no minimum balance re-

the MasterCard Zero Liability policy against fraudulent purchases and they are more cost-effective for Higher One. So this fee is avoidable and many students never incur it,” says Lemoine. Still it is this fee that has caused a great deal of the negative attention to the Higher One offering, and some suggest this has led to the harsh view taken by U.S. PIRG and other media outlets on student financial account products in general.

PREPAID TAKES LUMPS FROM PIRG General-purpose reloadable (GPR) cards, commonly called prepaid cards, are a rapidly growing product for campus card and financial aid delivery applications. According to the Federal Reserve, they are also the fastest growing electronic payment method in the U.S. The PIRG report takes a harsh view of these prepaid products citing a lack of government regulation and protections. Describing the prepaid card industry as unregulated, the report cites “no real consumer protections by federal law” and

“no protections to limit your liability.” To the contrary however, bank-issued prepaid products are often treated with the same protections as other payment offerings. Several issuers of prepaid products mentioned in the report, suggest that painting prepaid cards with such as broad stroke is irresponsible and misleading. According to one provider, “it is true that prepaid industry is not regulated in the same way as credit and debit, but as a bank, all our prepaid users are protected in the same way as other card customers.”

REPORT’S ACCURACY QUESTIONED A number of parties – service providers, campuses, associations and publications – have both publicly and privately called into question the accuracy of the PIRG report. Perhaps the most frequently heard complaint was that the report seems to lump all student-facing financial services together. According to a statement issued by the National Association of College

and how to manage personal banking and financial transactions and that campus cards are offered for service, convenience and security.” It is difficult to argue that efforts to contain tuition costs require the streamlining of administrative services. This is the fundamental reason that campuses first began to explore electronic delivery of financial aid. According to NACUBO, “the (PIRG) report misleads readers to believe that campuses profit by providing electronic refunds of student financial aid dollars.” Most interviewed for this article agreed that cost savings can be achieved via these services. But they stressed that few campuses create new revenue streams.


Above: Spurred by the controversial PIRG report, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is leading the investigations into whether students are being gouged by campus banking relationships.

Prepaid debit offers great tools as long as the platform is designed with the consumer in mind, says Blackboard’s Staples. “BlackboardPay accounts are FDIC insured and feature an extremely compelling fee schedule,” he adds. “It is a very consumer-friendly iteration of prepaid debit.” Without exception, providers interviewed for this article categorized the U.S. PIRG report’s depiction of prepaid as inaccurate and misleading.

and University Business Officers, “the U.S. PIRG report conflates the student aid refund process with debit-linked college and university campus cards.” In reality, these are very different products. They are marketed differently to students, entered into with different drivers from the institution’s perspective, and priced differently for users. NACUBO goes on to say the report, “fails to adequately recognize that students have a choice in deciding where

Sources tell CR80News that these times under the microscope will likely result in stricter guidance from the Department of Education related to dispersal of financial aid dollars. The chance for actual legislation enacted from the Congressional investigation by Durbin and his colleagues is minimal. However, insiders suggest they can pressure the Education Department to act. Most sources agree that as far as services and fees are concerned campus card banking partnerships have little to hide, and thus little to fear, from the current efforts. The scrutiny related to the banking partnerships area of the campus financial arena will likely focus on universities receiving up front payments and revenue shares. “Though they may not be unfair, undeserved or even unethical, in the future campuses won’t want to touch them with a ten foot pole,” says one source.

CR80News Editor Zack Martin contributed to this report.

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Near field communication is going to college and finding the campus to be an ideal testing ground full of students hungry for the newest technology. NFC’s promise – to let users do just about anything with a single mobile device – is a little hard to pass up. But like their business counterparts that have tested NFC, universities admit that its promise will remain unfulfilled until more NFC handsets are available. Both the University of San Francisco and Villanova University near Philadelphia are piloting NFC programs with the help of campus card provider CBORD. The results so far show that the technology works, students like it and they want to use it more. Ingersoll Rand developed the app and provided the hardware that turned an iPhone into an NFC-capable device, says Jeremy Earles, product marketing manager for readers and credentials at Ingersoll Rand.

HOW NFC WORKS AT VILLANOVA To begin, the participant connects a specially designed hardware accessory to the iPhone 4 or 4s. This hardware ‘sleeve’ slides over the phone and connects to the port at the bottom of the handset. The sleeve, manufactured by Wireless Dynamics, turns a non-NFC equipped iPhone into an NFC-capable device. Currently no other type of phone is supported, although Earles says Ingersoll Rand is considering developing the app for Android handsets as well. For the pilot,



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iPhones were selected because of their popularity on campus. With the sleeve connected, the participant requests an electronic credential for the phone. He receives an email with a link to download the dedicated app from Apple’s App Store. The app is launched, a password is presented, and the cloud then sends the credential to the iPhone, explains Earles. Now that the credential is securely in place in the handset, the student simply opens the app and taps the phone against the reader, says Earles.

THE BIRTH OF A PILOT Offering NFC was the brainchild of Max Steinhardt, CBORD’s new president, says Bob Lemley, CBORD’s director of software development. “Max came to me a year and a half ago and said he wanted to do something with NFC. CBORD then went to its partner Ingersoll Rand. “They really got aggressive finding and managing pilot implementations,” says Lemley. Villanova was chosen for two reasons, says Lemley. “First, they’ve been a leading partner with us, they’ve done a lot of new software implementations,” he says. “We’ve worked with their student government to design and build a laundry

notification feature among other projects. We have a long and rich history of working with Villanova for creative technologies.” The second reason is technical and made it easier to roll out an NFC project there. “They had just switched over to MIFARE contactless cards on campus,” he says. Thus they were already deploying contactless card readers to read the MIFARE technology, and these readers are also capable of reading NFC. “The NFC technology works with MIFARE readers right out of the box,” explains Earles. “It’s a plug-and-play type implementation … the reader communicates with the NFC phone in the same way it would communicate with a MIFARE smart card, so no additional configuration is necessary.” Kathy Gallagher, director of University Card Systems for Villanova’s Wildcard, says the school was looking for new technology that would enhance the student experience. “There was something exciting about being a pilot and our students are always looking for technically-advanced projects,” she adds. She says there were 54 participants including 22 staff members and 32 students. Seven locations, mostly dorms, were equipped with NFC readers. “We didn’t open this up to everyone on campus. We just wanted a small pilot,”

says Gallagher. It involved students in three dorms covering exterior doors only. “We also had four locations for academic offices and buildings; my office was one of the four,” she adds. Villanova’s phase two will begin with the fall semester in August and will include the school’s two larger dorms, says Gallagher. The phase two pilot will also

instead of their cards. And we project it will reduce costs by reducing the number of lost cards, meaning we won’t have to carry as extensive an inventory of replacement smart cards.” Rossi says that USF students cannot get by for more than an hour on campus without their smart card and the same goes for their phone.

results. From a technical implementation, everything worked flawlessly.” “Students loved it,” adds Gallagher. “They want to use it in other areas. I consider the pilot a real success.” She says Villanova was “looking for the good, bad and ugly in the pilot but there was no bad or ugly. It was a very simple pilot and it went very well. One thing you

STUDENTS LOVED IT FOR ACCESS CONTROL AND WANT TO USE IT FOR OTHER PURPOSES focus on laundry and point of sale in addition to the dorms, says Lemley. “We’ll be firing that up soon. It will have different participants and a larger population.”

NFC PILOT GOES BI-COASTAL As soon as the opportunity became available, the University of San Francisco jumped on the NFC pilot opportunity, says Jason Rossi, the director of One Card and Campus Security Systems at the school. “NFC is the wave of the future. Students need their smart card and their smart phone to get through the day. Why not make them the same? Our students are very tech savvy, so we knew this would be right up their alley.” Rossi says that NFC hits three main criteria: increasing security, improving service and reducing costs. “It increases security by acting as a de facto tool for secure access and transactions. It improves service because students enjoy the convenience of using their phones

Phase one at USF focused on traditional undergraduate students in a residence hall, says Rossi. Twenty students participated along with several staff members. The second phase will test NFC at the point-of-sale in addition to continued use in access control. The participant base will include a larger number of staff members and will also incorporate graduate students. “We want to see how working professionals are susceptible to it,” says Rossi.

REACTIONS POSITIVE FROM PARTICIPANTS, ORGANIZERS The feedback to both pilots has been positive. “Students loved it for access control and want to use it for other purposes,” says Earles. “We need to make sure we’re meeting all their needs before we commercialize the product,” he says, adding, “this will be a viable product.” The pilot saw heavy usage, says Lemley. “We’re extremely happy with the

always have on you is your phone.” Reactions from USF students were also positive, says Rossi. “There are some barriers in its current incarnation. For one thing, NFC is currently not native to the phone,” he adds. “Students loved it but they wanted it to be native so they could use their own handsets,” says Rossi. “And they wanted to use it everywhere. We didn’t make it clear to them when we started that we were testing it in one building.” He believes that when NFC becomes more widely available, universities will have an advantage with its implementation. “We don’t have the barriers that exist in the private sector,” says Rossi. “I am the merchant, the bank, the transaction processing system. We don’t have to worry about getting Walgreens or other businesses signed up.” The pilots have increased Rossi’s desire for more NFC activities. “I know it works, it’s proven. Now we’re waiting for the industry to give us the next step.”

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Repairs Annual license fees Support fees

Maintenance fees




Third-party interface fees Reader purchase price

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$$ $$$

Software licenses



Per module fees

New releases



$$$ $$ $$ $$$

From cloud-based services to software delivered on-site, colleges and universities have a myriad of options for handling their card programs. Understanding the ways in which the different vendors determine their fees is essential to making informed buying decisions. While the systems from campus card providers serve similar needs and offer similar services, the manner in which they charge for these services can be very different. It’s not a one size fits all pricing structure for any of them. Most frequently pricing depends on size of student population and what functions the school opts to deploy. “What card providers are offering is basically a consulting service,” says Fred Emery, vice president and general manager at Heartland Campus Solutions. “We’re recommending services to meet their needs and the needs of their students. Our goal is to give them the flexibility to create the best solution at a competitive price point. It becomes a partner approach between vendor and campus.” Cloud-based CardSmith’s subscription fee includes an all you can eat approach for transaction processing, applications and customer support, says Brian Farley, CardSmith’s vice president of business development. “There are no separate fees for different tiers. You get what you need.” Enhancements and upgrades are included in CardSmith’s subscription fee. “We’re about to roll out a mobile application service. We don’t say you have to pay more to access that application, you just get it,” says Farley. “You buy that with your subscription. You never have to upgrade your version of the software, and you never have a gun to your head that says to upgrade or else.” Heartland charges on a per module basis, says Emery. “This allows campuses to choose the modules they utilize and then expand and add to the system as they see fit.” For example, you could start out with the company’s dining module and financial services module and later add access control. “It’s all done in a modular fashion that provides flexibility and keeps costs down,” says Emery. This, he adds, allows the client to budget accordingly. Little has changed with CBORD’s licensing policies over the years. “From the very beginning in 1975, we licensed software with an initial licensing fee and then an on-going licensing fee that covered software versions as well as maintenance and support,” says Read Winkelman, CBORD’s vice president of sales. CBORD adjusts its software prices as the Consumer Price Index changes, says Winkelman. “In some versions – ones with smaller upgrades, like from 3.2 to 3.3, we have modest fee increases. That’s

not a major version,” says Winkelman. “But if you’re going from 3 to 4 that’s generally a major upgrade that would include significant new features added to the product.” CBORD’s pricing model also varies according to the product. “In our quotes the customer can see the investment needed year one and can see what the annual fees, if any, will be,” adds Winkelman. “For hardware, we have a price and an annual maintenance fee.” Additional fees may apply to modules that are added on over time. “And, if hardware peripherals, or third-party software will be needed as part of the system, fees for these applications/ modules may be applicable as well,” says Winkelman. “For CBORD, the key is ensuring the customer can see this price information ahead of time.” Allison Duquette, vice president of global sales and marketing for Blackboard Transact, says the company’s annual license fee includes support and maintenance. “That also includes ongoing research and development for one all-inclusive price,” she adds. The license fee also covers new releases of the product, says Duquette. “If we move to an entirely new platform the annual license fee will simply transfer,” she adds. When first approaching a campus, Blackboard wants to know the number of students and what the school wants to accomplish with the card system. From there Blackboard will let them know the types of services it can offer and at what cost, says Duquette.

SIZE MATTERS CardSmith’s subscription fee is based on a school’s population. “We establish that (price) up front,” says Farley, “and the primary driver is how many people are at the school.” Blackboard has eight pricing tiers covering schools with less than 2,000 students to schools with more than 150,000

“WHAT CARD PROVIDERS ARE OFFERING IS BASICALLY A CONSULTING SERVICE” students. The annual fee is based on the number of students to be covered by the service, says Duquette. Heartland also bases its module cost on the number of cardholders. “Software modules are licensed in year one and year two we charge maintenance/licensing on that module at 15% a year,” he explains. This annual maintenance/license fee includes upgrades to software, 24/7 support and access to user groups. “We charge a lower price for smaller institutions. The software is designed to handle any size population. There are a couple ways we can scale it, based on cardholders and then scale it down for smaller institutions,” says Winkelman.

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Future Years: Annual fee includes software updates, support and maintenance

ers can just choose the transaction service and a lot of them do,” adds Farley. That includes the core necessities for a campus card program, including dining, bookstore, vending and copy machines. The only other programs CardSmith sells separately are cardholder care and card program marketing services, explains Jay Summerall, CardSmith’s president. “For pricing purposes, operations management and off-campus merchant program management are included with our core transaction management service,” he adds CardSmith also offers a package deal covering all of the modules in what it calls its “total management solution.” CBORD’s annual fee is based on the products the school licenses. “Some customers are doing just door access, some just meal plans, others are doing both,” says Winkelman. “As there are so many applications, this works better for us because it allows customers to license what they need when they need it.” The fee also covers support. “Our thinking is that the customer should have a single point of service experience. So, annual fees are aimed at achieving this goal. In addition to 24/7 help desk support, annual license fees also cover versions, patches and some upgrades,” says Winkelman. With Heartland, modules can be chosen À la carte with discounts based on the number of modules a university orders, says Emery. Its four base modules include the core functions most clients utilize: dining/meal plan; building access; financial (vending and debit); and recreation and events (equipment rental and event management). Additional modules such as parking and Web-based account management are also available, says Emery. Heartland went with the module model in order to give schools choices. “If we put them all in one software piece you would have clients purchasing things they don’t need,” Emery says. At its simplest, Blackboard has two modules, the basic module covers commerce, retail capability and account management. “The basic module includes dining, vending, laundry anything that’s using Blackboard readers,” says Duquette. Blackboard’s security module covers building access. Campuses have a choice of what technology they want to deploy. “Typically a customer will start with exterior doors in a few buildings, then they may work their way up to interior doors,” Duquette says.

Heartland Campus Solutions


Blackboard offers its clients the opportunity to sign for up to five years making it easy for the campus to determine expenditures over time, Duquette adds. “We try to be very transparent when working with our customers,” she says. “We’re showing them the five-year run rate. If they want to lock in for five years we’re delighted to do that.” CardSmith also offers up to a five-year contract for its clients. “It may not be the same price for all five years but they would know what their price is going to be,” says Farley.

MENU OF CHOICES The common denominator for all of CardSmith’s programs is transaction management, beyond that, it’s À la carte. “Custom-

HOW VENDORS CHARGE FOR SOFTWARE SERVICES BlackBoard Transact Year One: Annual license fee. Based on campus population size and specific modules used. Includes software, on-going updates, support and maintenance. Future years: Same as Year One

CardSmith Year One: Annual license fee. Based on campus population size. Includes software updates, 3rd party system interfaces, support and maintenance. Includes all transaction services. Optional car holder care and card program marketing modules available at additional fee Future years: Same as Year One

The CBORD Group Year One: Initial license fee based on campus population size and specific modules used

Year One: Initial license fee based on campus population size and specific modules used Future Years: Annual fee includes software updates, support and maintenance (15% of initial license fee)

HOW VENDORS CHARGE FOR HARDWARE Year one: Initial purchase price (all vendors) Future years: Annual maintenance fee (Blackboard, CBORD, Heartland); Pay-as-needed for repairs and swaps (CardSmith)



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Across the vendor landscape, there are a variety of options for systems and a variety of pricing models. The key for campus decision makers is to gain a full, thorough understanding of the upfront costs to obtain and deploy a program … as well as the ongoing costs to maintain and grow it. Only when all the various components – purchase prices, licenses and ongoing fees – are understood can a campus make an informed decision on a system’s total cost of ownership.

Our campus is growing. We found an access control solution that can grow with us. – Quinnipiac University, C T

Copyright © 2012 ASSA ABLOY Inc. All rights reserved.

SARGENT locks powered by PERSONA campus software gave Quinnipiac University the ability to replace mechanical key locks with an integrated key card solution, as well as expand their existing card-based access control system to all main-campus and off-campus buildings. The solution had every feature the university’s facilities team required: • Easy installation and management • Full audit capabilities • A one-card solution utilizing ID credentials • Seamless integration with third-party databases • Choice of WiFi, Power over Ethernet and Offline • Flexibility to interface with a wide variety of enterprise access control software systems Read more about the Quinnipiac solution and other campus case studies featuring SARGENT and CORBIN RUSSWIN at or call 877.380.8014.

Scan this Microsoft® Tag using your mobile phone. Download the free mobile app at

L -R: Gina Frank – Associate Dean of Student Affairs, John Meriano – Associate Vice President for Administrative Services, Keith Woodward – Director of Facilities, Jon Terry – Assistant Director of Facilities, Janice Wachtarz – Associate Vice President for Information Services, John Twining – Director of Emergency Management, Sandip Patel – Financial Systems Specialist

NC STATE GOES PREPAID FOR STUDENT ID Campus among first to use U.S. Bank’s new nationwide service When you’re pitching your banking partnership program to a college and you don’t have a brick and mortar facility any closer than one state away from the university, it helps to have other ammo in your arsenal. So it is with U.S. Bank, which can now service colleges without a physical presence near the school over even in the state. Last year, North Carolina State University in Raleigh went looking for a new banking partner to service its 34,000 students. The school had a banking relationship with another institution, but the university wanted “a stronger program, one with more universal acceptance,” says Randy Lait, senior director of Hospitality Services Campus Enterprises for NC State. “We wanted to take our card to the next level. It was time to test the waters.” A key ingredient missing from the school’s previous campus card was that it served only as an ATM card. It didn’t feature a MasterCard or Visa logo and could only be used at ATMs and select merchants that accepted PIN-based transactions, says Lait. In the request for proposal, Lait says the school also wanted to find out what a state of the art program might look like. “We had about six responses initially,” he adds. One of those responses was from U.S. Bank and Lait liked what he saw. Whitney Bright, vice president and general manager for Campus Banking at U.S. Bank, says NC State wanted a card that could be accepted around the world. Essentially, the new program piggybacks onto the school’s existing Wolfpack One Card giving students, faculty and staff what the school wanted – a MasterCardbranded card that serves as a debit card. Students can have leftover financial aid placed on the card and they can add money to it via the Web. Parents can fund the card and employees can have a portion of their paycheck direct deposited to it. Funds can also be loaded through Mas-



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terCard’s rePower Network that enables MasterCard-branded prepaid cardholders to reload at participating retail locations, explains Bright. “The account tied to that card is a prepaid one as opposed to a checking account. Because it’s prepaid the account can be opened and serviced completely online,” she adds. “That gives us the ability to launch programs outside our banking footprint.” What’s important to both the university and bank is that students can only spend the funds that are in the account. They are not allowed to overdraw and cannot incur overdraft fees, says Bright. NC State is the third school to partner with U.S. Bank under this new prepaid program. The product is also in use at Harris Stowe Sate University in St. Louis and Oakland Community College in Michigan. U.S. Bank will place two ATMs on campus, and because U.S. Bank owns the MoneyPass ATM Network, students have access to more than 23,000 ATMs in that network without incurring a fee, says Bright. She says there are about 650 MoneyPass ATMs in North Carolina, and there is a mobile app to help a student find the nearest location.

CARD STOCK CONCERNS “We launched the new program at the end of June,” Bright adds. “The incoming freshmen class is starting on the program with the fall term.” Of course, students aren’t required to use the new prepaid offering. Additionally, no mass re-carding was planned. Existing cards will continue to work and re-carding is necessary only if a student wishes to take advantage of the new program. Cardholders that had linked their ID to the school’s previous banking partner can even continue using that service. “We’re not doing anything to break that link,” says Lait.

The university’s concern about card stock costs helped elevate U.S. Bank’s proposal, Lait says. The school uses HID Global’s iCLASS technology for physical access control and wanted to make sure that same card could be used regardless of whether or not the student elected to use the prepaid card functionality. With some programs a new card must be issued if the student later opts into the program, and these additional pieces of contactless card stock can become costly. With the U.S. Bank program, everyone gets the same card stock with both the contactless technology and the MasterCard logo. It’s up to the individual cardholder to activate it, says Lait. The card stock is produced at a secure facility and arrives on campus already set for MasterCard … complete with a printed logo, explains Lait. Lait admits that he initially had concerns about partnering with a bank that had no locations in North Carolina. But, he says these worries evaporated, when he saw a demonstration of U.S. Bank’s new video teller machine. The video teller enables a person to interface with U.S. Bank to do anything that a customer can do with a flesh and blood teller, says Lait. “You see the teller on the TV screen. If you want to cash a check for $10, you can do that. You can put your ID on the screen and feed checks to the system,” he says. Eventually the bank will be putting the video tellers into the university’s new student center, which is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2013. Of the banks serving the campus card market, U.S. Bank leads the pack in terms of number of relationships, serving 51 schools in 25 states, according to CR80News’s 2011 banking survey. The bank’s new prepaid offering can now enable expansion into states outside its physical branch-banking footprint, giving it nationwide opportunities.

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A little more than six-years ago, Doug Olson, Tulane’s director of card services, found his office flooded under two feet of water. That led to some “belt tightening,” says Olson, as the New Orleans school cancelled its 2005 fall semester so it could recover from a lady named Katrina. Since then, the school and its 8,338 undergrads, of which 3,600 stay in dorms, have undergone some radical changes and the hurricane is nothing but a bad memory. Everything is back to normal, if anything can ever return to normalcy after a devastating storm. Even with the cancellation of one semester, Tulane didn’t lose a lot of students. In fact, 87% returned for the spring semester. “We’ve fully recovered,” says Olson of the $600 million in losses suffered by the hurricane. While the storm probably didn’t lead to a new card program, it certainly helped spur the desire for one. Katrina piqued the school’s interest in contactless, says Jason Tiede, director of financial services for Blackboard Transact, the school’s campus card provider. “When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and wiped out their system, one of the things Tulane did was rebuild the card program,” says Tiede. That’s when Blackboard first introduced FeliCa, Blackboard’s contactless program powered by Sony. “Tulane wanted to know how to implement the program on campus primarily for security reasons. They’ve been very forward thinking,” says Tiede. Still it took five more years before the contactless system was implemented. And, lest anyone think otherwise, the current card was not named after Katrina. It’s called the Splash card as a play off the school’s nickname, The Green Wave. Before Splash and even before its predecessor, the Tulane Card, the university used multiple pieces of plastic. “We



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had an ID card, a copy card, a library card, a meal plan card, everyone had different cards,” says Olson. “We consolidated all the cards in 1993 into the Tulane Card.” In the early days campus card developer, Harco Industries, provided the system. In 1994 Harco was purchased by AT&T to create AT&T Campuswide. Six years later Blackboard acquired the company and Tulane has remained a Blackboard Transact client. But it wasn’t until 2010 that Tulane went contactless, the timing dictated by the need to remove Social Security numbers from the IDs. Eventually, Olson hopes to convert to near field communication to enable a student’s cell phone to meet all the needs that the campus card does now. “I think we’re going to keep growing in that direction,” says Olson. “Are we going to be able to program a phone to be another card on our system? I don’t know.” Contactless is used in the food court where the card just needs to be waved. The same is true if the student is using the card as part of his meal plan. The card’s magnetic stripe is used for laundry, copying and off campus merchant purchases. Tulane has three different models of vending readers from Blackboard running on campus. The older two models are magnetic stripe only, but the newest accepts contactless and magnetic stripe payments. “We are considering the option of upgrading all vending readers to the newest contactless vending reader that has a few other perks coming down the road,” adds Olson. “We’re using contactless to get into basketball games and the freshman residence hall, where everyone has to wave a card at a reader to verify they live there,” explains

When Katrina hit New Orleans and wiped out their system, one of the things Tulane did was rebuild the card program

Olson. “It used to be that 60 people could go through on one wave, but now each person has to wave a card at a reader at the front desk.” Tulane launched the off campus program with Blackboard’s BbOne solution in 2010 to compliment the on campus discretionary account, Splash, and the upgraded meal plan option, NolaBuck$. Blackboard has an agreement with the school to promote the off-campus program. “We handle merchant negotiations, equipment and so forth,” says Blackboard’s Tiede. The merchant pays a transaction fee of between four and eight percent, says Olson. Part of that is retained by Blackboard and the rest goes to Tulane. “We view the off campus program more as a service than a revenue generator,” says Olson. The school has 20 merchants and is processing around $250,000 a semester. The off-campus program has been bolstered by the decision to allow a portion of the discretionary meal plan funds to be used off campus, says Olson. “If you sign up for a meal plan you can have anything from $25 to $200 earmarked for off campus dining; that helps sell the meal plan because it can be used more places,” says Olson. The account can be replenished via the Tulane Web site or through kiosks around campus.

ACCESS CONTROL IS KEY TO SPLASH One of the card’s primary functions is access control. Initially, the card had a single magnetic stripe with two tracks that handled the meal plan, copy, laundry and vending and off campus. When the school introduced a new dorm security system from Persona Campus Software, it went to a three track magnetic stripe on the card, says Olson.

Persona, owned by security giant Assa Abloy, was introduced at Tulane in the mid-1990s with an offline room lock. “Around 1995, in a newly renovated residence hall, we began testing a variety of alternative card-based security systems and offline locks,” says Olson. Today, Persona technology is used at 350 universities in the U.S. The Persona solution can handle mag, prox, MIFARE, and iCLASS technologies, says Jim Primovic, regional campus manager for Persona based in New Haven, Conn. The company can also work with the FeliCa contactless technology in the Splash cards. To get into the main entrance of the residence halls, students use contactless. The front doors of the halls weren’t switched to contactless until the summer of 2011, says Olson. He would love to use contactless to enter dorm rooms but the school doesn’t have the funds to upgrade the 1,300 locks on individual residence room doors. To enter the dorm room, a student swipes the card’s magnetic stripe and enters a four digit PIN at one of 1,300 stand-alone locks deployed throughout eight residence halls. The lock system also provides an audit trail. “The Persona system provides a record of when a door has been opened and closed and it even tells us when a door has been left propped open,” says Olson. Would going contactless on the dorm room doors defeat the extra layer of security that a PIN provides? No says the Persona representative. “We could do it with contactless only or with contactless and a PIN … or it could be a combination of the two, for instance contactless only from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. then contactless and PIN after that time,” Primovic explains.

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Contactless failure on campus? User education, card material important to success ZACK MARTIN, EDITOR, AVISIAN PUBLICATIONS

It may seem easy: tap the card against the reader and wait for the door to unlock. That’s the basic premise behind contactless smart cards for physical access control.

explains Meriano. There are still individuals who use their plastic cards to scrape ice of windshields, pry open doors and conduct a variety of other damaging acts. At Quinnipiac they even had a card come in with teeth marks, he says.

Contactless technology is touted as being more durable than magnetic stripe systems because there’s no direct contact with a reader that could cause damage to the card. All the components of a contactless card are safely tucked away inside the card body. This is true, for the most part, but contactless issuers also need to make sure cardholders are properly educated on how to use and care for the card. This spring, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Conn., experienced what seemed to be an unusually high number of problems with its contactless cards. At most a couple hundred students have had issues, primarily when using the card to gain access to the dorms, says John Meriano, Quinnipiac’s section vice president for Administrative Services. “It’s the strangest thing, it’s like we had this little hot spot of card problems,” said Meriano. “We were hoping that it was due to one rogue reader, but that wasn’t the case.” Instead of being a technology problem he labels it a problem with educating the students on proper card maintenance. Bending contactless cards can lead to problems with the antenna and chip,

The failure rate of contactless cards can range from .25% to 5%, says Brad McGoran, principal engineer at Exponent Inc., a company that test cards and readers for



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A CONTACTLESS CAVEAT EMPTOR Outside of problems with the cards, schools also need to know that the components of the systems – different readers – are interoperable, McGoran says. “Compliance of disparate components with industry standards does not always ensure interoperability of those components since the standards often are written to have flexibility,” he adds. The convenience of flexibility has the potential be the downfall of interoperability.” Exponent recommends that schools purchase components from reputable manufacturers and to do testing to make sure they work properly in the system. “With proper pre-deployment component and system-level testing however, agencies and issuers can help guarantee the proper reliability, functionality and success of their programs,” McGoran says.

durability, reliability and conformance to industry standards. He explains that these rates are comparable to magnetic stripe cards because failure rates are less a product of the ID technology than the actual card. “Failure rates of these technologies are dominated by the failure rates of the underlying card body itself,” McGoran says. “The failure of the card body can be expected to affect the magnetic stripe or contactless card equally. We have seen cards returned from the field that have suffered partial or full cracks through the card structure that in turn severed the magnetic stripe or embedded contactless antenna.” HID Global estimates that its contactless cards can have a 10-year lifespan and some of the newer technology can last 20-years, explains Stephane Ardiley, 
senior product marketing manager at the company. Like McGoran, she says that the key is the card body material. PVC is designed to last for two to three years but polycarbonate has a 10-year lifespan, Ardiley says. Composite cards made of a combination of PVC, polycarbonate and other materials can last five to 15-years. For magnetic stripe environments, card fracture and surface wear are the dominant failure modes, McGoran explains. “Due to their usage profile, contactless cards do not generally experience the same amount of wear as magnetic stripe cards, but there is a trade-off as they do have their own distinct failure mode, namely chip and antenna break-

age,” he says. “We have seen antenna and/or chip breakage occurring in some populations, especially when cards are subjected to abnormal stress.” Magnetic stripe cards can suffer other failures beside damage to the physical stripe, Ardiley says. “The mag-stripe is sensitive to external magnetic fields,” she adds.

Failure rates of these technologies are dominated by the failure rates of the underlying card body itself Blackboard, which supplies the campus card system at Quinnipiac, says that contactless has higher reliability and is faster than magnetic stripe, says Jeff Staples, vice president of marketing and business development at Blackboard. “Reliability of that transaction is important, whether the student is buying a soft drink or sitting outside the dorm at 2 am,” he says.

Exponent recommends cardholder education to help prevent failure of internal circuitry that can arise when cards are hole-punched, excessively bent or used as ice scrapers. “From a durability perspective, Exponent has subjected purely contactless cards to a wide variety of tests in which the card structure has failed with relatively few corresponding adverse effects on the embedded chip itself,” McGoran says.

PRE-ISSUANCE TESTING, POST-ISSUANCE EVALUATION HID tests the chip and antenna on each card before it’s issued to make sure there’s no failure, Ardiley says. This means when a card fails it has to do with damage in the field or other issues. HID also offers issuers a lifetime warranty on it cards in case there is a problem. Blackboard also tests its cards before they are issued to students and when cards come back they undergo a lab test to see what happened. Blackboard doesn’t

offer a warranty but will resolve issues if there is a manufacturing problem. Problems can also arise when the card uses both magnetic stripe and contactless, Staples says. One school had both technologies on the card and different departments used the IDs differently. One was using the magnetic stripe for physical access and had a hotel-style lock – one where the card is dipped down. With some students – likely those that used a bit extra torque on their dipping motion – this caused stress on the chip and antenna and lead to problems with the contactless interface. Such issues convinced Blackboard to work proactively with schools to educate students on card care, Staples says. “You need basic requirements for care and handling … if I bend a contactless card excessively, there is a likelihood of damage,” he says. “We see improvement as deployments progress because students become aware of how to take care of these cards.”

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Married to the mag Magnetic stripe continues to affordably meet campus needs, still divorce looms for some

Not all institutions are in the market for the latest technology when it comes to their campus cards. Many choose not to upgrade to an unknown entity citing that the magnetic stripe card has met their needs for 15 years, 20 years or longer.

Some campuses avoid upgrades for stability reasons, while others say it costs too much. They simply don’t want to dedicate the money needed to re-card their institution and install new readers and infrastructure. Valdosta State University in Georgia has had the same card program since it started in the early nineties, says Craig Williams, key control and security systems supervisor at the school. “Nothing has changed since I came on board in 1998,” says Williams, who is in charge of door access and electronic security. The card is used for everything, explains Williams. “Obviously it’s an ID but it’s also used in the library, door access, bookstores, ball game admission. You can purchase anything on campus from meals to books,” he says. Re-carding for the school’s 13,500 students and 1,800 staff would be expensive. That’s why he asks: “Why do we need to upgrade? A lot people don’t take that into consideration. Re-carding a campus is a major undertaking, we’ve done that once in 14-years and it was one of our largest endeavors,” says Williams. Replacing all the different gear that works with the mag stripe would be daunting and costly. “When you talk about getting away from the mag stripe, it’s getting away from each and every piece of equipment,” says Williams. “We have thousands of pieces of equipment that read the mag stripe.”



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In addition to the cost, the transition period – when everything is in the process of moving from one tech to another – would be challenging, Williams says. He notes that if the card had a chip and mag stripe, it could ease this transition. Williams admits Valdosta State is married to the mag, but he acknowledges that in the future the school might be forced to divorce from the technology and upgrade to a chip card or biometrics. It could be said the school is already taking baby steps towards an upgrade. Some readers on campus – such as the recently installed vending and laundry units – are already capable of accepting both the magnetic stripe and smart cards. Were the school to upgrade, partnering with a bank to help defray some of the costs could help, says Williams. “Most people I’ve talked to who went to smart card had a banking relationship or financial entity to absorb most of the cost for card replacement,” says Williams. All that said it’s likely the school will still upgrade, but maybe not to a contactless card. “We’re more likely to do it now than a year ago,” says Williams. But it may not be to a smart card. “We’ve had more requests for smart phone technology rather than smart cards,” he says, “but it’s not something we could implement without spending some bucks.”

FROM CHIP TO MAG STRIPE Oklahoma City University actually reversed the typical upgrade process, switching its campus card system from contact chip cards to magnetic stripe about a year ago. The chip card, says Rick Hall, vice president of student affairs for the university, was built over a period of 10-years. “We kept

adding onto it until it became too cumbersome,” he says, adding that both software and hardware had become obsolete. “We were having some security concerns,” says Hall. “And were afraid that if we had a crash we couldn’t restore the services. We wanted a more reliable card system. We also wanted it to be on a server maintained off site.” The university chose CardSmith, a cloud-based campus card provider, to operate the school’s new card system, says Hall. The new card was launched in the fall of 2011 for its 3,700 students, of which 3,000 live on campus. Cost was the main reason the university went to a mag stripe card versus another chip card, says Hall. Additionally, the university’s existing chip card readers could also read mag stripe so full-scale replacement was not a requirement. The new card is also speedier. “With the old system, when you inserted the card it would take two or three seconds to do its work. That created an issue at meal times. Kids come in herds.” Even the two or three seconds it took for the old card caused long lines. “That doesn’t happen anymore. The reader takes the card as fast as you can swipe it,” says Hall. The card is used for printing, access control and the bookstore. It provides access to buildings and residence halls, but not individual rooms, says Hall. The card has a declining balance purse called

StarsCash that can be used for off campus purchases as well. Hall says he sees no reason to upgrade the card further.

MAG AT MOUNT HOLYOKE BUT UPGRADE IS POSSIBLE Another school that appears to be married to its mag stripe card is Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. The school started its mag stripe card program in 1998 when it was being serviced by General Meters. When Heartland Payment Systems purchased General Meters, the college stayed with Heartland. “Most of our locations are cashless, such as vending and laundry,” says Doug Vanderpoel, the school’s director of Auxiliary Services. The card is also used for door access all the way to the individual dorm rooms. Mount Holyoke has 20 dorms on campus and more than 1,000 readers. “Virtually everywhere on campus you can use the card system,” says Vanderpoel. Thanks to Heartland, the college was able to increase its off campus presence through Heartland’s Give Something Back Network, where a percentage of purchases goes back to the school. “We went from eight to 30 off-campus merchants,” says Vanderpoel. Concerning upgrading, part of Vanderpoel’s most recent fiveyear plan was to evaluate different ID technologies. “I’m just not

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To upgrade or not isn’t an easy decision for colleges and universities as it obviously involves more than just dollars sure what to go with,” he says. “All our readers are capable of multiple technologies, so we wouldn’t have to replace the entire reader, just part of it. But we aren’t anxious to switch.” Like other schools, expense is a reason for not upgrading. In Mount Holyoke’s case, it involves 2,000 cards that the school keeps on hand for its various conferences, reunions and other events. Replacing them at $6 each would be a large expenditure, explains Vanderpoel. The school wouldn’t have to replace their readers since most can already handle contactless, says Vanderpoel, citing this flexibility to handle both contactless and mag stripe as a key reason they selected the reader. Some of the technologies he’s considering include MIFARE and iCLASS. “And now you have NFC thrown into the mix.

Should I go with iCLASS, for example, if NFC is around the corner?” asks Vanderpoel.

TRANSIT FORCES CHANGE One school had a different reason for upgrading. It had to if it wanted its students to continue to ride the bus. The University of Pittsburgh was satisfied with the performance of its Panther mag stripe card, but decided to change technologies when the city’s Port Authority upgraded its fare card, says Jessica Larson, card program manager. The Port Authority had a contract with the university providing pre-paid bus rides. When the Port Authority implemented a new MIFARE contactless system the school switched from a flash card system – where cardholders show the card to the driver for visual identification – to a more accurate electronic verification system, says Larson. The university’s mag stripe card wouldn’t work with the new system. In preparation, the university issued 40,000 new cards in 2009, says Larson. “However we just started this year using the smart card on buses.” The university continues to use its mag stripe card for everything else – meal plan, access control and payments on and off campus. But that’s likely to change as its card provider, Blackboard, upgrades its reader line to include MIFARE support. “We’re in the process of upgrading readers to accept the MIFARE cards,” says Larson. But the university doesn’t intend to upgrade all readers at once. “We have more than 430 pieces of equipment and as it needs replacing we’ll replace it,” says Larson. She says the new card is working out well for bus trips. “By this time next year we should have some readers in place, but since our mag stripe card works very well there’s not a huge rush to spend money to upgrade readers,” says Larson.

THE GREAT UPGRADE DEBATE To upgrade or not isn’t an easy decision for colleges and universities. It obviously involves more than just dollars. In Pittsburgh’s case, outside forces caused the school to change to a new system. Others are simply holding out to see what’s next. Regardless, card system administrators know that whatever they choose, that choice will stay with them for many years to come.



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Students arriving at Princeton University this fall are finding more security in their residence halls. For the first time, their contactless campus ID card will be used to gain access to individual rooms. The contactless readers on the front of the dorms remain the same, but instead of being issued keys for access to specific rooms students will now tap their card and enter a PIN for access, says Keith Tuccillo, system administrator for life safety and security systems at Princeton. Using technology from SALTO Systems, the massive deployment includes 53 residence halls and 3,700 individual locks. It impacts about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students living in Princeton’s housing facilities. Previously students would tap their HID iCLASS 32K card at the main entrance and then use a key for access to their rooms, Tuccillo explains. Starting in the fall, after

students are through the main entrance they tap the card on a reader and enter a PIN to access their room. “The housing department wanted something more robust,” says Trucillo,



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explaining the choice to require both contactless read and PIN entry. They wanted two-factor authentication so that if a student lost an ID card someone could not gain access to their room, he explains. To meet this need, Princeton chose SALTO’s XS4 lock with keypad. For added security, the campus is assigning PINs rather than allowing students to self-select their own. “This is to avoid students choosing 1-2-3-4 as their PIN,” Tuccillo says. Students have been notified of their PIN and the changes to the physical access control system through email, physical mail and other print materials.

THE DATA ON CARD CONCEPT “In a SALTO system, all data required to make an access decision is held on the card,” explains Mike Mahon, Senior VP Commercial Sales, SALTO Systems. The lock and card communicate with each other to determine if access should be approved or declined. This eliminates the need for online connectivity to a central database during access transactions. In addition, Mahon explains that the cards themselves can act as transport, carrying system data throughout the network of readers. Cards pickup data from readers in the normal course of entries and exits and spread this data to other readers in a viral manner during subsequent transactions.

This Data on Card concept is a key part of what SALTO calls the SALTO Virtual Network. Another key component is the series of online readers known as hotspots. At a hotspot, cards can be revalidated, PINs changed and access rights adjusted. Additionally, important system data can be loaded for viral dissemination. Hotspots can be normal online exterior door readers or they can be dedicated stations, conveniently located within a building. Revalidation of card privileges at hotspots is crucial to the SALTO Virtual Network architecture. In traditional online access control systems, cards and privileges are revoked. Access rights for a terminated employee or student are turned off in the central system and all subsequent access requests are declined during the online transaction. But this presents a challenge in offline environments, as the removal of rights for a terminated cardholder cannot be communicated immediately to the deployed readers. SALTO solved this challenge by reversing the traditional access control model. “Rather than granting privileges with no expiration or extremely long life spans, we grant short term privileges and use the power of our hotspots to facilitate rapid, seamless revalidation,” explains Mahon.

Imagine a building with two exterior doors and two hundred interior doors controlled with SALTO locks. Cardholder privileges are set to expire every 24 hours and all interior locks operate completely offline. Each time a cardholders enters the building, the students’ privileges are revalidated and rewritten to the card granting access for the next 24-hour period. This enables the student to pass through any approved interior door readers. If the individual is fired or expelled, the card will no longer be revalidated at an exterior door and the current privileges on the card will expire at the end of the 24-hour window. Furthermore, as other cardholders enter through the exterior doors and are revalidated, the terminated cardholder data is written to the card for viral distribution. As these valid cards are presented to offline door locks through the normal course of operations, the terminated card is added to the lock’s blacklist. If the terminated card is presented to that lock during the few hours it still has remaining on from its prior validation, access is denied and the card rendered inactive.

BENEFITS FROM BOTH ONLINE AND OFFLINE FUNCTIONALITY Because SALTO makes all access decisions offline between the card and the reader, the system is not impacted by network or power disruptions. But while the system can function in a fully offline mode, online operation via wireless enables additional functionality. “Princeton opted to connect the interior XSR locks via Wi-Fi to enable real-time audit tracking for access transactions, instan-

taneous lock down and remote door scheduling,” says Mahon. This also reduces the reliance on revalidation of credentials as terminated cardholders can be removed from the deployed readers via online notification. The university chose to revalidate at different intervals based on group, for example staff once per week, students and faculty once per semester and certain staff every 48 hours, explains Mahon. The new system offers Princeton more flexibility and potentially saves money. In the past, if a key was lost the lock had to be re-keyed. With the new system, however, changes can be made to the physical access control system removing the lost card and issuing a new credential for the student. It also streamlines the process for granting contractors access to residence hall rooms. Physical master keys were assigned or temporarily issued to contractors. The problem with master key-based systems is that lost keys create extreme vulnerabilities and costs. In traditional environments, a lost master key would entail mass rekeying at significant expense. In the new environment, the contractor is issued a card with only the appropriate privileges. If lost, the card is simply

RATHER THAN GRANTING PRIVILEGES WITH NO EXPIRATION OR EXTREMELY LONG LIFE SPANS, WE GRANT SHORT TERM PRIVILEGES AND USE THE POWER OF OUR HOTSPOTS TO FACILITATE RAPID, SEAMLESS REVALIDATION cancelled and the risk mitigated. The new system also keeps an audit trail of who accessed what locations and when. The new system was two-years in the making, Tuccillo explains. With the start of the Fall semester, students and campus administrators should start reaping the benefits of these efforts to better secure Princeton’s residential facilities.

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BENCHMARKING THE CAMPUS CARD OFFICE New report enables programs to compare against similar institutions

It all started when one university wanted to compare the performance of its campus card office to others. An apples and oranges problem emerged. Just because another school is nearby or of similar size doesn’t mean it will have the same type of campus card program. Thus was born the benchmarking survey sponsored by the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU). The main purpose is to help a card office see how it’s performing against card offices in other parts of the state or country and to explain what tasks each of the offices perform at the schools, explains Frank Adams, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing at Mississippi State University. To help card offices better utilize the results of the ongoing survey, NACCU held a webinar, “How to Analyze and Leverage the NACCU Benchmarking Survey for Your Office’s Advantage,” led by Adams. He says the idea for the benchmarking survey first surfaced in 2008 while he was working at the University of Alabama. The card office director wanted a better way to convey the value of the campus card program to administrators, explains Adams. “As I learned about how a card office worked, I knew it wouldn’t be possible to benchmark against other schools without more data,” he says. Adams started talking to a variety of card offices to see what they do, what they offer and what’s important to measure. The first results were released in 2010 and the second survey covering 2011 results is underway. NACCU plans to conduct a benchmarking survey every two years, says Jorrun Liston, the organization’s education director. The survey found that a campus card office can support as few as 174 card users or more than 100,000. “The average card office serves nearly 23,000 card holders and processes nearly 4 million transactions per year,” according the document,



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“yet serves these needs with only three full-time staff members.” A key purpose of the research is to let people outside of the card program know what tasks these offices perform. “Like a public utility, it fills a very specific niche in the institution’s ecosystem. You’re not aware it’s there until it quits working,” says Adams. “In reality, it’s the nerve center of the institution.”

SURVEY DISCOVERIES Adams says he wanted to compare where different schools were with their programs. “If you’re going to benchmark

 Number of employees that have NACCU training. He says NACCU will be comparing these surveys over time to gather better performance measures. The survey looks at what affects performance and what happens in the card office to influence that performance. How are NACCU and its members expected to utilize these results? First, card offices need to be given a better sense of where they deliver value, says Adams. Just saying you deliver value is often not enough. Next, if one school finds another that’s similar, directors can compare debit transaction volumes and other indicators to gauge performance. The survey can also enable campuses to chart progress. For instance, they may be best in class for like institutions or they may need more resources to grow the program. The report will potentially list such resources and help program directors make a case for obtaining them. When it comes to allocating resources and asking higher-ups for more, it helps to have data to make the case. “Resource commitment is a big deal and communicating with your supervisor is critical,” Adams adds. This, says Adams, is where benchmarking shines. Results are available to NACCU members at the organization’s website. Four separate documents – Executive Summary, Cluster Analysis Results, Summary of the Card Office Characteristics and Services Provided by Cluster – are available via password-protected download.

The average card office serves nearly 23,000 card holders and processes 4 million transactions a year any industry or activity you have to look at the players in that environment, whom they’re similar to and whom they’re different from,” he adds . Maybe the program isn’t similar to an institution down the road but rather one on the other side of the country. There were specific items Adams looked for to determine similarities and differences including:  Number of users supported by the card office,  Size of the surrounding community  Volume of transactions processed per user,  Reporting structure for card office,  Number of employees per user,

Profile for AVISIAN

CR80News Fall 2012  

Exploring the utilization of identification technologies on college and university, K-12 and corporate campuses

CR80News Fall 2012  

Exploring the utilization of identification technologies on college and university, K-12 and corporate campuses


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