Trinity University’s Tiger Card Office expects to issue around 450 replacement student ID cards during the 2012-13 academic year, a number that remains relatively unchanged from recent years.
Jerry Ferguson, director of business operations for the Tiger Card Office, points out that the office actually creates about 550 cards a year, but nearly 100 of those are for conferences and special programs. Thus, the number of student cards that the office actually replaces is closer to 450. According to Ferguson, nearly 90 percent of those 450 cards are lost and stolen cards.
This number is not reflective of the number of students who actually lose their cards, since some students require multiple replacement cards
“We see a lot of repeat offenders. If somebody is having problems we generally see them frequently,” Ferguson said. “It seems like the people who take their card when they get it and put it in a wallet when they leave, we may never see again.”
Some students in particular have been frequent visitors to the Tiger Card Office.
“We had one student who would come in and every time she would get a new hairstyle she would get a new card,” said Oralia Carrillo, system administrator of the Tiger Card Office. “She practically funded our program that year.”
Carrillo advises that students looking for lost Tiger Cards check Coates University Center, which keeps lost and found items. If the card is not found in Coates, he recommends checking with Residential Life and the Trinity University Police Department.
The number and cost of replaced cards has decreased in recent years, and Ferguson attributes that achievement to the red pouches that the program has begun handing out at New Student Orientation.
“This present year we’re budgeted for about $12,900 worth of supplies and cards. Five or six years ago, before we started doing the pouches, we were up to about $19,000 a year,” Ferguson said.
Some students have complained in the past about the $25 replacement fee and the criteria by which the Tiger Card Office determines whether or not a card warrants a free replacement, but Ferguson does not see a problem.
“If we get a card back that looks to us to be in excellent condition and it is not working, then we don’t charge [to replace those],” Ferguson said, adding that “if it has appearances of heavy abuse, we will make a judgment call and charge for that.”
“Heavy abuse” can range from students leaving bite marks to using them as ice scrapers or to pry or screw things open, said Trey Dunn, Tiger Card technical support analyst.
“Nobody likes to have to pay for something, and that’s always an issue, but the numbers are not up this year,” Ferguson said. “The bottom line is that [the fee and criteria] haven’t changed in the 11 years we’ve been doing this.”
The replacement fee covers the cost of the physical hardware, which is about $4 and the administrative cost of entering the student into the database.
The Tiger Card program, started in 2002, supplies students, staff and faculty with ID cards that are used for room and building access, access to TigerDollars and access to Mabee dining hall. The program is paid for by a $50/semester student fee ($25 for students residing off-campus).
The program initially gave students and staff keycard access into 15 residence halls. The scope of the program has since greatly expanded, as the university now has 750 offline access units and 600 online (network connected) units. The cards are now used for room access to about half of the student room doors, as well as to doors throughout the various academic buildings.
The Tiger Card Office has already started thinking about its next project.
“We’re looking at Witt and Winn for this summer,” Ferguson said.
Jeremy Keys is a news reporter for the Trinitonian.