Students spent $42,920 in replacement ID cards last year


Central Michigan University ID cards sit behind a card printing machine at the Central Card Office inside the Bovee University Center on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

Given to every student when they enroll at Central Michigan University, an ID card is supposed to stay with them from the time they're a freshman until they graduate.

That doesn't always happen. ID cards are lost, broken and destroyed every year.

The Central Card Office makes more than $40,000 replacing ID cards each year, said Coordinator of the Central Card Office Bobby Lane. 

In 2013 2,228 ID cards were replaced, 2,072 were replaced in 2014 and 2,146 last year. At $20 a card, that's $44,560 made in 2013, $41,440 in 2014 and $42,920 in 2015.

That's not extra revenue, according to Lane.

“Our office does not get a profit from the cost (of replacing lost ID cards), so the money is our loss too,” he said.


Canton junior Owen Ash gets his photo taken for a new ID card at the Central Card Office inside the Bovee University Center on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

Janel Taylor, Administrative Clerk of the Central Card Office, said because the service doesn't get any of the money students spend on replacing cards, they "operate in the negatives year-round."

Taylor said the Central Card Office reports to Auxiliary Services along with all Residence Halls, University Apartments, Residential Restaurants, the campus bookstore, retail dining, University Center Operations and Printing Services. Any extra funding the Central Card Office might need to pay staff or create ID cards comes from Auxiliary Services' budget, whose goal is to break even each year, according to the 2015-16 operating budget reports.

In the 2015-16 school year alone, Auxiliary Services total revenue was $79.9 million. Last year, it was $70.3 million. 

Students who lose their ID cards can apply for temporary ones for $2 at the Central Card Office. This card will be active for seven days, so a student can attempt to find their missing one. Failure to return the temporary card after the week period can result in a $5 fine.

The $20 fee does not just affect people who have lost their ID cards. Students must pay for new cards if the magnetic strip on the back is damaged and card readers around campus, like check-in readers in residence halls or library checkouts, cannot read them.

Lane is trying to reduce the price by half the price of lost cards, so students are not forced to pay the same if they have not actually lost their cards.

Students still have to pay $20 to replace a damaged card.

If a student loses their ID card, they can call the Central Card Office to "freeze" their account. This means if another student finds a lost ID card and attempts to use it, they will not have access to the other student's meal plan privileges or flex dollars. 

Using another student's ID card can result in a $25 fine. Students who lend their cards to others can also face a $25 "misuse fee," as well as get their card confiscated.

Taylor, however, said confiscation is "incredibly rare."

"A lot of the locations don't take (misused) ID cards away from students, they just charge the account," she said. "If the location does, they give it to the Central Card Office and we notify (the student)."

Students can pick it up from the card office for free when this happens, Taylor said.

A location where students can get their cards taken away for misuse is anywhere that requires an ID card for entrance, like an on-campus dining hall or the Student Activity Center.

Woodhaven freshman Kaitlyn Bondar lost her student ID card at the Midland Mall.

“I thought (paying $20) was an O.K. price. However, if you have to replace it multiple timest’s kind of outrageous after a while," Bondar said. "It adds up when you have to buy two, three or four IDs."

Caledonia freshman Austin Brege lost his ID card while out with his friends. He left it at a friend’s house and bought a new one before he even realized it was with his friend.

“I looked for (my ID card) for a couple of days and then finally just bought a new one," the Caledonia native said. "Literally the next day, it was at the Towers' front desk. It was a waste of $20.”