THE NEW STUDENT cards introduced by UCD will prove problematic for students who wish to avail of student discounts, The University Observer has learned.

Many well-known retailers – including IMC Dun Laoghaire, Topshop, Burton and Schuh – have said that a student card without an expiry date would be difficult to use when trying to avail of student discounts.

studentcardsWhile some said they would accept the cards for the current academic year given the issue date of September 2009, they said that discounts for the 2010-11 year would not be offered with cards issued in 2009. Other retailers have said that they cannot accept any student cards without expiry dates.

Students’ Union (SU) President, Gary Redmond, says the SU will “have to sit down and work it out with the retailers,” and that he feels that, for him, it “is important, as a former Ents officer, [to ensure] that the discount for students is not only encouraged but also maintained.”

The cards, which differ from previous cards in that they do not expire each year, have been introduced by UCD as part of a money-saving scheme. Redmond believes the change “does save the university somewhere in the region of €40,000 per year,” which he called “a welcome saving”, and also feels that “the role of student cards is changing.”

Redmond is adamant that the SU, in partnership with the university, will ensure that student discounts can be retained. He stated that, in the coming months, UCDSU would “be working with UCD, and any retailer that has a problem, to work toward a final solution.”

The new student cards are intended to last students for the length of their chosen programme. If a student changes programme, they will be issued with a new student card.

Redmond could not confirm the exact cost of replacing a student card, but confirmed that it has increased from last year’s charge of €13, and is reported to be in the region of €30.

Students living in the Roebuck Hall and Glenomena campus residences can also use the new student cards as door keys for their apartments, while one hundred students living in Merville are piloting an entry scheme to access their housing using microchipped cards.