The Ventra/Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) U-Pass allows full-time students of SAIC unlimited use of CTA bus and rail transportation for the fall and spring semesters. When compared with regular CTA fares for a semester, the Ventra U-Pass can provide more than $200 in savings.

What is Ventra? Ventra is the name of the new payment system that the CTA and Pace have adopted for Chicago's elevated train and bus transportation.

Ventra U-Passes are valid up to three days prior to the start of the semester and last until three days after the semester ends. U-Passes are not offered during the winter and summer sessions.

The $135 U-Pass fee is mandatory for all full-time students. This fee will be charged to each full-time student's tuition and fee account prior to the beginning of each fall and spring semester. A one-time $5 fee, which covers the cost of the card, will also be charged to each full-time student’s account for the initial issuance of the Ventra U-Pass card. The Ventra U-Pass card is more durable than the older magnetic stripe cards, and they feature the student's photo and name. Ventra U-Pass cards are valid for five years after initial issuance. This means a student will keep their Ventra U-Pass card from semester to semester, even if they transfer to another school within the CTA's U-Pass program. Whenever the U-Pass account is inactive or not applicable (during the summer and winter terms, or on Pace buses), the Ventra U-Pass card operates as a full-fare card.

Only full-time students are eligible for the Ventra U-pass.

Questions about SAIC's Ventra U-Pass Program may be directed to the ARTICard/U-Pass Office at 312.629.9362 or articard@saic.edu.

Special Advisory for Winter Break

Unlike the old magnetic stripe cards, your Ventra U-Pass card is designed for five years of use. DO NOT throw it away; you will need it next semester. A lost or stolen U-Pass costs $50 to replace.

Please read this Reminder to Students for Winter Break [PDF] from the CTA for information.

Getting a U-Pass

Distribution dates, times, and locations will be announced approximately one month prior to the start of each fall and spring semester. After the official distribution dates, U-Passes may be picked up in the ARTICard Office.

Full-time students as of spring 2014: The U-Pass for spring 2014 will be active from January 21 through May 15.

Returning students who are registered for full-time credits and had a U-Pass during the previous semester will find their U-Pass activated on January 21. (REMEMBER: keep the same card you had last semester.) You must be registered as a full-time student by January 16 in order for us to activate your U-Pass by January 21.

New and transfer full-time students may submit a photo of themselves through Express Registration or simply ask that their ARTICard photo serve as their U-Pass photo. Check your SAIC email account for more information on submitting your photo. New U-Passes may be picked up in the ARTICard Office beginning on January 21 during our normal business hours. You must bring your ARTICard student ID and be registered with full-time credits to pick up the Ventra U-Pass.

New and transfer students for whom we do not have a photo by the Express Registration deadline may apply for their new U-Pass in the ARTICard Office.

Please note: If you miss the Express Registration period, U-Passes may take up to seven business days to process.

How to Use the U-Pass

The Ventra U-Pass uses the same contactless technology found in many of today's personal bankcards. A contactless card transmits data securely via radio waves to a card reader when the card is tapped on the reader.

To use the Ventra U-Pass, simply remove the card from your purse or wallet, "tap" the card on the Ventra reader at the bus or train station turnstiles, and you're on your way!

*BE SURE TO REMOVE YOUR U-PASS FROM YOUR PURSE OR WALLET BEFORE USING!* Holding your entire purse or wallet up to the reader may cause the reader to detect a different card that uses contactless technology, such as your bankcard or credit card. If this happens, your fare may be charged to this other account, and you will not be refunded!

When the fall and spring semesters are not in session, the Ventra U-Pass card can be loaded with personal funds and used as a full-fare card. For more information, please visit transitchicago.com.

Lost or Damaged Ventra U-Passes

If your card is damaged:

Bring the damaged card to the ARTICard/U-Pass Office in the Sharp Building, room 254. We will collect the damaged card and place an order for a replacement Ventra U-Pass.

If you wish, you may choose to get a seven-day unlimited ride transit pass to use until the replacement card is received. These passes can only be obtained at CTA's Customer Service Center at 567 West Lake Street, 2nd floor. The Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If your card is lost/stolen:

Bring your valid school ID and $50 (cash, check, or ARTICash) replacement fee to the ARTICard/U-Pass Office in the Sharp Building, room 254. The $50 fee is nonrefundable. Credit or debit cards cannot be accepted in the ARTICard office.

All replacement cards are sent to the ARTICard/U-Pass Office within five to seven business days. An email will be sent to your artic.edu account when the replacement pass arrives.

REMINDER: PLEASE HANDLE YOUR U-PASS CAREFULLY. DO NOT BEND, FOLD, MUTILATE, OR DAMAGE THE CARD IN ANY WAY.

 

What is the U-Pass?

The CTA established the U-Pass Program for eligible full-time students at accredited degree-granting schools within the CTA service area. The program provides low cost transportation and increases access to the Chicago metropolitan area.

Each fall and spring semester, all full-time undergraduate and graduate students are assessed a mandatory U-Pass fee entitling them to a nontransferable Ventra CTA U-Pass valid for 5 years. The U-Pass account for each card is activated each fall and spring semester for all full-time students. The fee for fall and spring semesters is $135 per semester. The U-Pass is good for unlimited use aboard all CTA buses and trains throughout the semester. When the U-Pass account is inactive, such as during the summer or winter terms, the Ventra U-Pass card can still be used as a full-fare card.

Where and when do I pick up my U-Pass?

Please see Getting a U-Pass.

Am I eligible for the U-Pass?

U-Pass eligibility is based on full-time status, which is determined by credit hours taken per semester. Minimum requirements may be different depending on Degree Program.

Credits Constituting Full-Time Status:

Program

Unit Total

BFA 12
BFA in Art Education 12
BFA in Art History, Theory, and Criticism 12
BFA in Writing 12
Bachelor Interior Architecture 12
BA in Visual and Critical Studies 12
Undergraduate Exchange Program 12
Art Education Certificate 12
Art History Certificate 9
Graduate Certificate 9
MA in Arts Administration and Policy 9
MA in Art History 9
MA in Visual and Critical Studies 9
MA in Art Education 9
MA in Teaching 9
MA in Art Therapy 12
MA in New Arts Journalism 9
Dual Degrees: Master Arts Art History and Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy 12
Master of Architecture 12
Master of Design in Designed Objects 12
MFA Studio 12
MFA Writing 12
Master of Interior Architecture 12
MS in Historic Preservation 12
Post-Bacc Studio Certificate 12
Graduate Exchange 12
Continuing Studies/Spcl Prgms 12

I only need to take a few classes in order to graduate (part-time hours). Can I still get the U-Pass?

No, U-Pass eligibility is based on credit hours taken that semester, regardless of graduation requirements.

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I am a part-time student, but I also TA/participate in work-study on campus. Can I still get the U-Pass?

No, U-Pass eligibility is based on credit hours taken that semester, regardless of additional on or off-campus employment or extracurricular activities.

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I am a part-time student at SAIC, but am also taking classes at another Chicago school. Can I still get the U-Pass?

No, U-Pass eligibility is based on credit hours taken at SAIC.

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I might drop to part-time. Should I pick up my U-Pass?

It's up to you. The Ventra U-Pass card can be used with or without the U-Pass benefit. After the Add/Drop period, students who have picked up the U-Pass and then dropped below full-time will have their U-Pass account deactivated, and their card will operate as a full-fare card. All students who pick up the Ventra U-Pass card will be charged the one-time $5 fee.

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I drive to campus/I don't use the CTA. Can I get a refund?

No. Refunds will not be issued to full-time students. The mandatory U-Pass fee will be charged to all full-time students' tuition and fee accounts.

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Can I sell it or give it to a friend?

No, the U-Pass is nontransferable and has your name and 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 for the duration of the valid dates without reimbursement, and person using it will be subject to arrest and prosecution.

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Why is the U-Pass fee required?

The CTA requires SAIC to charge all full-time students in order to participate in the U-Pass Program.

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How do I use the U-Pass?

Please see How to Use the U-Pass.

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How do I use the Ventra full-fare system during summer and winter sessions—or, when I am not enrolled full-time?

Please visit ventrachicago.com for details about how you can use your U-Pass card as a convenient way to purchase CTA passes during summer and winter sessions.

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Where can I get more information about the CTA and its services?

Visit the CTA website at transitchicago.com or call the CTA Customer Service Hotline at 1.888.YOURCTA (888.968.7282).

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