The cost to replace student ID cards will increase from $10 to $25 on Aug. 15.
Although the jump may seem high, Registrar Nancy Cronk said the current $10 fee is not a lot compared to other institutions. Both Indiana University and Purdue University currently have a $25 replacement fee on ID cards.
“We have a very healthy price increase coming up from $10 to $25,” Cronk said. “We want to be sensitive to the fact that this is a huge fee increase for students, but we also want to be sensitive to the fact that we’ve got to maintain the standard of the card and realize that it’s not just a plastic card, it’s got some technology built in it and some security built into it.”
Each blank, chip-enabled card costs the university $5, but that does not include the print ribbon and maintenance for the ID card printer.
The new fee will give the university a chance to see if it can expand the features of Ball State’s current ID cards. One possible expansion would be using the card at merchants off campus. However, Cronk said there is no current discussion about doing that.
The new Cardinal Cards, which started being issued in April 2014 and have a proximity chip in them, are more expensive than the plain white cards that were previously issued. The white cards had no technology or chip in them and were pennies for the university to purchase, Cronk said. Money from the replacement fee for the cards goes to the Ball State general fund.
“Because of that additional technology, there needs to be an increased awareness of the card capability and also the card value,” Cronk said.
The Board of Trustees approved the increase in June 2015, and it was written into the 2015 board approval of additional fees to be implemented in Fall 2016.
Although students may find their old ID after a new one is printed, the old card can't be reactivated.
“Every time we print a new card, that security changes, ... and you get brand new security attached to that new card,” Cronk said. “It literally invalidates the old card."
Olivia Boles, a sophomore social work major, has lost her ID multiple times due to having a hectic life and a toddler with disabilities. She said between going to school, working and taking care of her child, her ID is the last thing she thinks about.
“I live off campus, so it’s much easier to not have it on me every day and not use every day and then misplace it,” Boles said. “I don’t eat here or have a meal plan, but I use it quite often, so it’s important.”
Without her ID, Boles said she loses access to the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center and is unable to check out books from Bracken Library, which is something she frequently does.
“When I lose it, that means I have to wait longer and longer periods, especially if it’s more expensive, to have access to things that I’ve technically already paid for and that I’m entitled to. So that’s frustrating,” she said. “I think [the price increase] is ridiculous, utterly ridiculous. … I also had to get a [new] ID because I got married, so my last name changed, and that punishes people who change their name [and] maybe change their name because of their trans identity.”
Hannah Janowicz, a sophomore public communication and theatrical studies major, said she understands the price increase because other on-campus things have also increased in price, but she thinks the jump for $10 to $25 is extreme.
“For many, their ID is their money to get food. If they lose their ID, they can only spend so much time looking for it before they need another meal,” she said. “It's really asking a lot of the students. Yes, they should be more responsible, but sometimes people drop their ID or it slides out of its little keychain pocket. It's not always the student's fault, so why should they have to pay even more?”