University Community Begins Switch to SUNYCard this Month

In an effort to provide more efficient services and improved security to the University community, the campus this month begins converting to a new identification card — SUNYCard — that will take effect in the Fall Semester.

SUNYCard will function as a universal card for University students, faculty and staff, and will contain on one card many of the services currently provided on several cards: picture identification, library, meal plan, Podium, Quads Plus, and building access card.

Vice President for Finance and Business Carl Carlucci says the necessity for the switch is two-fold. "SUNY has made the new card the system standard," he said, "and the current University at Albany ID card is out of date."

In order to bring about this move to SUNYCard, all faculty, staff, and returning students will be recarded during the weeks of April 15 and April 22 in the Campus Center, on the west side of the main lounge on the first floor, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Recarding involves having your picture taken to be turned into a digital image — the same process which occurs when you renew your license — and will take less than one minute," says Julia Filippone, director of the Office of Business Development.

Undergraduate students will be scheduled for recarding during the week of April 15. Faculty, staff, and graduate students should come in at their convenience during the week of April 22. Extended hours for two evenings per week will be scheduled for the convenience of evening students and second-shift staff. Distribution of SUNYCards will occur throughout the summer months.

"The new card has advantages for everybody," said Carlucci. "It has the ability to carry more information through the employment of two machine-readable stripes. Because this card both improves and expands services, we can use it in a variety of new ways. We can use it to grant access to facilities and services. It will replace the need for a separate Podium card. Students and staff will also have the option to use the services that SUNY Central has negotiated as part of the creation of SUNYCard."

Some of SUNYCard’s new services to University members come through partnership with Citibank and MCI. Any student, faculty or staff member may choose to open a free, pre-paid debit account with Citibank, with access via SUNYCard to ATM machines and on-campus point-of-sale locations. SUNYCard holders with Citibank privileges will be able to access off-campus point of sale locations associated with the NYCE or Cirrus networks.

SUNYCard also will be the University’s preferred method for financial aid disbursements and student refunds, with individual student authorization. Electronic disbursement will make funds available to students much more quickly than check disbursements.

"In these times of decreasing resources and ever increasing needs, our partnership with Citibank also offers a direct return to the University at Albany," said Filippone. "Citibank will return royalties to the University, on a per transaction and interest earnings basis."

SUNYCard will also provide faculty, staff, and off-campus students with a new way to dial long distance from home. Participants in this program will be offered very competitive long-distance rates and an opportunity to obtain a calling card to stay connected to MCI as they travel within the U.S. and internationally. As an incentive to participate, those University members who take advantage of the program will receive 100 free minutes of domestic calls and 100 free minutes of international calls. MCI will return to the University royalties of 10% on long distance billings, and 25% on calling card billings.

Plans also are under way for using the cards for building access. Over the course of the summer, the Diebold corporation will install card readers on a total of 70 doors — exterior dorm doors, the academic podium, and academic buildings on the Downtown Campus. SUNYCard will function as the exterior door key for after-hours access at the start of the Fall Semester.

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