U-Pass FAQ’s

General

What is the U-PASS?

The CTA established the CTA U-PASS program for eligible full-time students at accredited‚ post-secondary‚ degree granting schools within the CTA service area. It is an attempt to provide a transportation program that will reduce demand for on-campus parking‚ reduce pollution‚ provide low cost transportation to students and increase access to the Chicago metropolitan area. Each semester all eligible students are assessed a nonrefundable U-PASS fee entitling them to a nontransferable UIC CTA U-PASS valid for that semester. The U-PASS is good for unlimited use aboard all CTA buses and trains throughout the semester.

Who made the decision to require the fee?

The Board of Trustees approved the fee for full-time undergraduate students beginning Fall 2001 after a recommendation from the campus based upon significant student input‚ including two referenda. After a referendum for graduate students‚ the Board of Trustees approved the fee beginning Fall 2002 for full-time graduate students in the Graduate College‚ College of Pharmacy and School of Public Health.

After taking students’ overwhelming support of the U-PASS into account‚ the University Of Illinois Board Of Trustees approved a five year contract for the U-PASS at their July 13‚ 2005 meeting. The U-PASS student referendum passed with strong support. Of the 4941 total votes cast‚ 86% percent voted in favor of the U-PASS‚ while only 14% percent voted against the U-PASS.

The College of Medicine students voted in favor (72%) of having all classes eligible for the U-PASS beginning summer 2007.

Why is the U-PASS fee required?

The CTA contractually requires the University to assess all eligible students in order to participate in the program.

I am disabled and cannot use the CTA. How do I use paratransit services?

The U-Pass program now includes paratransit services for eligible students. Students who are unable to use fixed route public transportation due to a disability may be eligible for Paratransit Service, a shared ride program offered by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Students must be certified by the RTA in order to use the service. For additional details, please contact the Disability Resource Center (312-413-2183).

How do I use the U-PASS?

The Ventra U-PASS works like a CTA Ventra fare card. Just tap lightly against the Ventra fare machines at CTA train stations and on CTA buses. NOTE: On CTA buses. If you insert your U-PASS into the money slot, or the old fare machines, your U-PASS will be captured.

When is the U-PASS valid?

The U-PASS will be valid for CTA travel during the Fall semester, Spring Semester, and Summer 1 and Summer 2 Sessions when you are a full time student. U-Passes will be activated based on each student's eligibility five days before classes begin and the five days after finals end (based on the official academic calendar).

Can I use my U-Pass during Semester Breaks?

U-Pass privileges will not be active during semester breaks. When school is not in session or if you do not qualify as a full time student for the current term, full fare passes and transit value can be added to your Ventra U-Pass.

Is the U-PASS valid on PACE buses?

The Ventra U-PASS can only be used on PACE buses if you have added full fare passes or transit value.

I drive to campus / I don’t want the U-PASS. Can I get a refund?

No refunds can be issued. All eligible‚ full-time students will be assessed the fee.

Can I sell it or let a friend use it if I am not planning to use it?

No, the UIC CTA U-PASS is nontransferable and carries your photo. The CTA reserves the right to require a student to show a valid school identification card upon request. If this condition is violated, the U-PASS will be confiscated, and you will be prohibited from participation in the CTA U-Pass program for a full year. You will not be reimbursed, but may be subjected to arrest and prosecution, as well as campus disciplinary action.

Do students at other universities participate in this program?

Over 40 other universities and colleges in Chicago also participate in this program (e.g. Loyola, DePaul, Roosevelt, etc.). Students at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois also have a required transportation fee for public transportation in Urbana and Champaign.

How is the U-PASS fee determined?

The fee is determined based on the contractual rate of payment to the CTA plus administrative costs to run the program.

Where can I get more information about the U-PASS? 

You can visit the CTA’s U-Pass website.

Replacement

What if my U-PASS is lost or stolen?

The CTA will issue a replacement for $50 (Cash, Credit, or Debit only). Visit the ID Center located at 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Mon-Fri with your i-card. (NOTE: You no longer have to visit the CTA office). The ID Center will “void” your lost/stolen U-PASS.Once your old U-PASS has been voided, it is useless. The $50 is an administrative fee paid to the CTA to cover costs of verifying your eligibility, voiding your old card, creating & shipping the new card, and updating their database with your new data. The $50 is nonrefundable. The replacement U-PASS will be sent to UIC within 3 – 5 business days. You will be notified via e-mail when your U-PASS arrives.

What if my U-PASS is damaged or not working properly?

You must report your damaged U-PASS to the UIC ID Center. You will need to Visit the UIC ID Center located 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Mon-Fri with your i-card, and damaged U-Pass. (NOTE: You no longer have to visit the CTA office). At the UIC ID Center you will complete a report and request a new U-Pass. You must also pay a non-refundable $50 fee (Cash, Credit, or Debit) to replace the damaged card. The new U-PASS will be sent to UIC. You will be notified via e-mail when your Ventra U-PASS arrives.

What if my U-PASS is captured in Fare Equipment?

You will need to Visit the UIC ID Center located at 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Mon-Fri with your i-card. (NOTE: You no longer have to visit the CTA office). At the UIC ID Center you will complete a report and request a new Ventra U-Pass. You must also pay a non-refundable $50 fee to replace the captured card. The new Ventra U-PASS will be sent to UIC. You will be notified via e-mail when your Ventra U-PASS arrives.

Eligibility

Who is eligible for a UIC CTA U-PASS?

According to the agreement between the CTA and UIC‚ the UIC CTA U-PASS is available each semester only to full time students for that semester. Students from the Graduate College & Graduate School of Public Health must be registered for at least 9 credit hours (5 credit hours in summer) to be considered full time. All other students must be registered for at least 12 credit hours (6 in summer).

Part-time students are not eligible nor are they assessed the fee.

Students in programs that do not charge service fees are not eligible for the U-PASS program‚ nor are they assessed the fee.

Why do I have to be full-time to be eligible for a U-PASS?

The CTA requires that students must be full-time to participate in the program. Full-time status must be based on tuition and fees assessment.

Am I eligible for a U-PASS if I am a full time student but not taking all of my credit hours at UIC?

No. You must be a registered as a full-time student at UIC‚ which does not include any course work outside this university. There are no inter-university U-PASS programs.

I am a graduate student taking 8 credit hours and I have a 50% assistantship. The Graduate College considers me full-time. Why am I not eligible for a U-PASS?

UIC must provide the CTA with a list of full-time students who are eligible for this program. This is the official list provided by the Office of Registration and Records and reported to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

What if I pickup my U-PASS‚ but then drop a course and fall below full-time status?

After the add / drop period each semester‚ we send an updated list of eligible students to the CTA.

If you have fallen below full-time status during the add / drop period‚ your name will not be on this list‚ and CTA will deactivate your U-PASS. The U-PASS fee assessment will be credited to your account.

After the add / drop period each semester‚ there are no refunds given for tuition and fees‚ including the U-PASS fee. If you drop or withdraw from a course and fall below full-time status after the add / drop period‚ you will still be responsible for the U-PASS fee‚ and your U-PASS will NOT be deactivated.

Distribution

Do I have to pick up a new U-PASS each semester?

No, starting August 20, 2013, the CTA Ventra U-PASS will be valid for 5 years. Full time registered students will be issued the Ventra U-Pass packet. Each student is required to activate their Ventra U-Pass by calling the number listed on the back of the card. This should be done prior to the student’s first attempt to use the card, or the card will not work on the system. The student will need to provide the following information when they call to activate the card: 1) Card # (located on the back of the Ventra U-Pass card) 2) Student UIN (located on i-card).

When and where can I get my U-PASS?

CTA U-Passes are distributed in the Student Center East Building (located at 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE). Prior to receiving a U-Pass every student must have their i-card and must be registered as a full-time student. For those students not registered 20 days prior to the semester start, it can take up to 3-5 days to receive your Ventra U-Pass once an order is placed. Once you have the initial U-Pass, it will be activated each semester electronically. It will not be necessary to visit the ID Center to have your U-Pass activated. Students are sent an e-mail via the UIC MASSMAIL system notifying them of active dates for U-Pass usage. UIC’s U-Pass is always activated 5 days before 1st day of classes and deactivated 5 days after last day of Finals. If a student chooses to opt out of MASSMAIL, they will not receive notification.

What do I need to do to get my U-PASS?

Bring your i-card to 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE during the designated distribution times. Your eligibility will be verified at the check-in station located on the 2nd floor South. You will be directed to either a distribution table for preprinted CTA U-Passes, or to a photo station to have a CTA Ventra U-Pass ordered. New orders can take up to 3-5 days, but you must return to the ID Center 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE for pickup. You will receive an e-mail when your new U-Pass is received in the ID center.

Why was my U-PASS not preprinted?

In order for us to receive upwards of 18,000 preprinted CTA U-Passes, we must provide the CTA with a list of students who are eligible to receive U-PASSes. Since UIC is the largest school participating in the U-PASS program, we must provide this list up to 20 days in advance so that the U-PASSes can be prepared and delivered prior to the distribution period. If you are not registered for full time status at the time we provide the list to the CTA, your Ventra U-Pass will not be preprinted. Additionally, if you did not have an i-card photo on file prior to the date we send the information, your Ventra U-Pass will not be preprinted. The ID Center cannot guarantee a pre-printed U-Pass.

I am registered for less than full time status‚ but plan on registering for more courses and becoming a full-time student. Can I pick up my U-Pass?

No. We must verify that you are registered for full-time status prior to issuing you a U-Pass. Students registered for less than full time status are not eligible to receive a U-Pass. You must pick up your U-Pass after you have registered for full time status.

What if I can’t pick up my U-Pass during the scheduled distribution times?

You will be able to claim your preprinted CTA U-Pass at the ID Center, 750 S. Halsted St., 124 SCE between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday. You will need to bring your i-card. If your U-Pass was not preprinted, It may take 3-5 business days, but you will be notified that it has arrived via e-mail. You may call the ID Center at (312) 413-5940 or e-mail idcenter@uic.edu to check the preprinted status of your U-Pass.

Why do I have to wait for a late issuance U-Pass during late distribution if my U-Pass was not preprinted?

CTA does not print U-Passes on site. Any pass that is not preprinted must be ordered and shipped to UIC.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Who receives a temporary 7-Day pass?

New students (including transfer) whose first U-Pass from UIC is not ready to be picked up may be eligible for a 7-Day pass. You must visit the ID Center to receive the pass. Students whose passes are not activated due to late registration, lost or stolen passes, and negative balances are not eligible for temporary 7-Day passes.

Why is the line so long?

While we will continue to find new and better ways to serve students during the U-Pass distribution process, lines at peak times can be quite long. We understand this is frustrating. There are a few factors. The process prescribed to us by the CTA is complex, there are thousands of cards to distribute, and a number of students visit SSB at the same times. If not necessary, we encourage you to avoid lunchtimes and the first days of distribution.

How do I replace my lost, damaged, or stolen U-Pass?

Visit the ID Center with your i-card or other form of ID (Driver’s License, State ID, or Passport). There is a $50 fee payable by cash, credit, or debit card. Your card may take up to 10 business days to arrive on campus for pickup. You will receive an email when your card is available to be picked up.

Can I waive the U-Pass fee? I don’t use it.

The CTA Transportation Fee is a required student fee for all full-time students, including students who may be employees. Contractually, waivers are only allowed for students who will not be in the Chicagoland area for the entirety of a semester. This waiver is generally only applicable to students who study abroad. There are no waivers for students who do not wish to partake in the U-PASS program.

I get an unlimited pass from the CTA as a Veteran. Can I waive the U-PASS fee?

Please visit the ID Center in Student Center East Building (SCE). Bring your i-card and CTA Ventra card to discuss.

How does the summer session count credit hours?

The entirety of the summer session is considered one semester. Credit hours taken in both the eight and four week sessions count towards your total for the session. If eligible, the U-Pass is valid for the entire summer semester.

Can I use the U-PASS for paratransit?

Students who are unable to use fixed route public transportation due to a disability, may be eligible for the Paratransit Service, a shared ride program offered by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Please contact the UIC Disability Resource Center for more information.

Should I throw away my pass at the end of the semester or if I take a semester off?

You should not discard your U-Pass until it has reached its expiration date. Students who discard, including students who leave the university for a period of time, will be assessed the $50 lost card fee.

How did I get a negative account balance?

Use of your pass during periods when you are not eligible or the pass is not active may result in a negative balance. Double tapping the card or using the card to provide a ride for a guest may also result in a negative balance. Please contact the CTA for any issues related to negative balances.

I’m a transfer student from another school with U-Pass. Can I transfer the card?

While this is technically feasible, it can be difficult if you don’t contact the ID Center well in advance of the start of a semester. We see you as a new student and order a pass, so it’s likely that you have a new pass. If you’d like to attempt to transfer your pass, contact us at upass@uic.edu at least four weeks prior to the start of a semester.

Why was my U-Pass confiscated?

The U-Pass is only for your use. CTA reserves the right to confiscate passes used by anyone other than the rightful owner. In the case your card is confiscated, you may be banned by the CTA from eligibility for up to one year. During this time, you will continue to pay the CTA Transportation Fee.