Purdue will soon roll out new identification cards for faculty, staff and students, featuring added technology and a new design - and the student version will include an expiration date for the first time in Purdue history.
Purdue announced Tuesday morning the rollout will begin in spring 2020 with all new students, and some features will be available in replacement cards as early as August 2019. The timeline aligns with plans set in 2014 to update the cards every five years; the last update was in 2015.
Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Rousch recently raised the issue of whether Purdue's IDs could legally serve as a student's state-mandated identification to vote here. A meeting to discuss the matter was scheduled for Thursday.
Purdue's announcement does not appear to nullify the debate for local elections this fall or for the presidential primary elections in the spring.
“We issue ID cards for daily campus uses from checking out library books to accessing doors to paying for on-campus meals,” Tim Riley, the university’s bursar, said in a news release. “Facilitating those uses will always be the primary factors in deciding how to update the cards, but it’s always a plus if the updates also can make life more convenient for students in other ways by adding new technologies or new features.”
The new cards, which will be integrated into the Purdue population over the next several years, will include a unique identifier that will allow them to be read by more electronic devices. This update will add more convenience to users and better position Purdue for an eventual adoption of mobile credentials as universities nationwide are exploring.
The addition of an expiration date to student cards and the continued inclusion of the cardholders’ photo and legal name also means the new versions of the card are more likely to be accepted by Indiana voting officials as valid forms of identification. The expiration date will be set six years from the date the card is printed.
“We are not in the voter identification business, but if we can help make voting more convenient for students, we want to do so, and the design parameters of the new card appear to check all the necessary boxes for a valid voter identification,” Riley said. “But it’s up to state, county and local poll workers to decide whether an identification is acceptable for voting purposes, and the surest way for students to guarantee ballot access is to acquire a passport, an Indiana driver’s license or a free Indiana ID card from a Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch.”
Freshmen typically obtain their first Purdue ID in June, so the first incoming class to be issued the new cards will arrive in the fall of 2020. An early version of the updated cards that include an expiration date will be adopted in late August 2019 as the standard replacement student ID.
According to longstanding Purdue policy, the University pays the expense of an individual’s first ID card, but replacements cost $25. While the new cards are being integrated into the Purdue population, Purdue will allow cardholders to trade in their existing Purdue identification for an updated version at the reduced cost of $10. The fee covers the administrative and material expenses of developing, programming and printing a new card.