UC Berkeley increases Cal 1 Card replacement fee to help cover operational costs

Sam Albillo/Staff

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On Monday, the nonrefundable fee to replace a Cal 1 Card increased from $25 to $35, according to the Cal 1 Card website. 

The increased replacement fee was enacted to help cover rising Cal 1 Card operational costs and promote greater diligence regarding campus resources, according to a campuswide notice sent out by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs on behalf of the Cal 1 Card office. According to UC Berkeley spokesperson Adam Ratliff, the change in the replacement fee was scheduled for Monday because July 1 marks the start of a university’s fiscal year. 

“The Cal 1 Card replacement fee has been $25 for more than 10 years, and operating costs have continued to rise. After calculating staff and material costs for providing replacement service, we decided that a $10 increase to $35 would be an appropriate amount,” Ratliff said in an email.

According to the Cal 1 Card website, all UC Berkeley students are required to have a Cal 1 Card as their official campus identification, and the cards are used for a variety of purposes, including access to residence halls, free transportation on all AC Transit buses, admittance to sporting events and access to meal plans at Cal Dining locations.

According to rising sophomore Jasmine Perry, although Cal 1 Cards are essential for all campus needs, students easily lose track of them because of the fast-paced environment on campus.

“I think that Cal is such a hectic environment, where you are always on the go to the next place, that you misplace a lot of things, so you don’t really think about everything you need until after you left. … So I think it’s just that people move very fast here, so we tend to lose track of the things that we actually need to survive,” Perry said.

According to the notice, the increased rate will apply to all eligible cardholders, including employees (faculty, staff, academic and postdoctoral), non-employee affiliates and students needing to replace a lost Cal 1 Card. 

As the Cal 1 Card is utilized by the majority of UC Berkeley students and faculty, the university is hoping that the increased fee will encourage the community to be conscious of its resource consumption, according to Ratliff.

“In regards to university resources, the idea here is that we want to ensure our community is taking care to reduce materials and expenses in order to help the university save money and be mindful of the environment,” Ratliff said in an email.

Perry is unsure whether the increased replacement fee will incentivize students to look after their cards more carefully. 

I don’t think people will think, ‘Oh, yes, the price has increased by $10; I need to make sure to have it with me at all times,’ because people already have the mindset that they need to have it with them at all times,” Perry said. “I’m not sure if raising the price will actually do anything to prevent students from losing it.” 

Although the rising fee is applicable to most cardholders, individuals who experience a name change or whose Cal 1 Cards have been stolen or damaged are not required to pay the lost-card replacement fee, according to the notice. Additionally, the notice stated that eligible cardholders will still receive their first Cal 1 Card at no cost.

“If your card was stolen, the replacement fee will be waived as long as you present the police report or case number at the time of requesting the replacement card. … If your card is damaged, bring the damaged card to the Cal 1 Card office and your card will be replaced at no cost,” the Cal 1 Card website states.

Perry emphasized that cardholders can decrease their likelihood of losing a Cal 1 Card by carrying it with them at all times and keeping track of its whereabouts.

“I leave mine in the back of my phone because people normally don’t forget to take their phone anywhere … or you can set a reminder on your phone in the morning to make sure to grab it when you leave. Don’t just throw it in your backpack, because I know people who do that and it screws them over in the long run,” Perry said.

Cardholders can visit the Cal 1 Card office at 212 Sproul Hall for any additional questions or concerns.

Contact Sydney Hilbush at [email protected].