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School ID Badges

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School ID Badges


Schools are finding more and more ways to effectively utilize ID badges. Once used simply as a form of identification, school identification badges are now incorporated into everything from attendance tracking and meal plans to library and computer use.

Here are some specific examples of multipurpose student IDs in action:

  • Santa Barbara City College student ID cards will soon act as debit cards on a new system to be instituted this fall. The system adds functionality to the student cards, and should prove helpful especially for those working on a budget. Students and parents will be able to add money online to card accounts for use at campus businesses such as the cafeteria and bookstores, as well as for vending machines and library printers and copiers. A unique feature of the cards is that money can be restricted to specific areas. For instance, a parent can add money to the account, specifying the funds be used solely for the cafeteria.
  • Students at Purdue University use a card program called BoilerExpress which allows them to deposit funds directly onto their student IDs. The cards can then be used to make purchases at various campus businesses. They are looking to expand the program to off campus businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants and movie theaters. A plan to add enhanced online account management is also in the works.


Some schools are beginning to incorporate smart card and proximity card technology, adding further versatility and complexity to their school ID badges. A smart card is equipped with a microchip capable of holding a significant amount of data. The enhanced capabilities of the smart card allow for a wide variety of uses for student ID badges. For instance, students can use their smart card student IDs to access the internet via a school’s computer network. Not only does this provide students with free internet access, but the school can also establish internet filtering, ensuring that students operating on the network are using it primarily for educational purposes, and not for personal entertainment. Smart card student ID badges can also store emergency health information, which can be accessed in an urgent situation.

By utilizing proximity card technology in student ID badges, schools can institute advanced, contactless time and attendance systems. Card readers at school entrances and exits can monitor when a student is entering and leaving the facility. The same technology can also be applied to individual classrooms. This allows schools to keep better track of students, while also cutting down on paperwork by storing attendance information electronically. While not widely popular yet, many schools are also looking at the possibility of using proximity cards for student lockers. This would require equipping each locker with a somewhat pricey card reader, but the benefits of convenience and enhanced security make it a move that’s certainly worth considering.

As card technology improves, educational institutions continue to add versatility to their ID badge systems. With so many options available, the creative use of school identification badges depends on the imagination of the school itself.

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