For Students

What your KU ID Card Can Do

Your KU ID Card is the key to pretty much everything you need access to on campus from door access to library privileges; from meal plans to Bear Bucks, so you should have it with you at all times. Typically you would get your card when you go through freshmen, transfer or Graduate Connections. If you do not go through one of these programs, you may stop in our office when you are on campus once you have registered for classes. Here is an overview:


When you go to an on-campus dining hall for a meal, you have some choices on how to use your card to pay for your food.

  • Meal plans: If you have purchased a meal plan, then you are eligible to visit a participating dining venue once during each meal period. Premium and Block meal plans can be used at any dining hall on campus.
  • Dining Flex Dollars: If you get the munchies after that, or if you are ravenous and need a bigger meal than your meal allowance provides, then you can use your Dining Flex Dollars (Premium and Block meal plans come with Flex). Keep in mind that Flex balances are forfeit at the end of the academic year, so use them up.
  • Bear Bucks: You can always use Bear Bucks in an on-campus dining hall, but you have lots more options, too. Order a pizza or a sandwich on the phone from an off-campus restaurant or just hit any campus vending machine.

Not sure which payment methods are right for you? Check out our chart.


Your KU ID card doubles as your key to KU buildings, rooms, and labs:

  • Residence Halls: swipe at the outside door to get into your residence hall. For some residents of Deatrick, the card is also your room key.
  • Computer Labs: The Computer Lab behind Old Main requires a card swipe for entry.
  • Academic Buildings: Not everyone has this privilege, but some student employees need access to academic resources at the discretion of their departments. That is done with the card, too.

When you replace a lost or stolen card (and therefore get a new card number), it takes up to 45 minutes for the new card to work in campus doors. It will work immediately at all dining halls and retail locations.

If your card doesn't work in a door, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Check with the Authorizing Official for the door to make sure you have privileges:
    • For residence hall doors, check with Housing (610-683-4027,
    • For computer lab doors, check with the IT Helpcenter (610-683-1511,
    • For any other doors, check with the staff member who gave you the privileges.
  2. If your privileges are in order, stop by the KU Card Office to make sure your card is in good health.
  3. If your card is fine but still doesn't work in the door, call the Facilities Work Control center at 610-683-1594. They can help troubleshoot the problem from there.
  4. If your card has been re-encoded by the KU Card Office but still doesn't work, we will issue a new card.

Rohrbach Library (more info)

While you do not need your KU ID card to gain access to the library, you do need it to borrow items. Your card is not activated as a library card until you visit the Circulation Desk and have them swipe it.

Admission to Activities

From football games to voting, your card gets you access. When you go to the game, a swipe of your card gets you a free ticket. The same card gets you into the Rec Center or Keystone Pool for a workout and gets you a book from the library to read while you are on the treadmill.


The KU Shuttle runs three loops: two on-campus, so you will never have to wait long for the next bus; and one off-campus through town down to the Weis Markets shopping center and back. At night, a bus runs a single loop on- and off-campus to get you where you need to go. Just show the driver your card and you are good to go.

Bear Bucks

Bear Bucks is a declining debit account that is attached to your KU ID card.  You can deposit money onto your card using cash, check and credit card. Bear Bucks is accepted at many on-campus
and off-campus locations.  Just remember - you cannot purchase alcohol or tobacco products with your Bear Bucks. 

To make a Bear Bucks deposit, log onto your MyKU account and go to the Finances section of your account.  Click on the "make a payment" option and follow the prompts to add money into your Bear Bucks.

To view your Bear Bucks balance, transaction history, suspend your lost or stolen card - log on to your MyKU account here.