Ryerson students are issued OneCards in first year that allows students to get discounts at various local restaurants and retailers. PHOTO: NATALIA BALCERZAK

Ryerson OneCards have OneFlaw

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By Allison Tierney Elkin

The Ryerson OneCard isn’t just used for getting access to services on campus — students should also be able to use them outside of school to get discounts at a number of businesses.

However, without expiry dates on the cards to identify them as valid for the current year, some students have been rejected for discounts that many feel are necessary to ease financial burdens.

James Milos, a fourth-year mathematics student, ran into an issue when he tried to purchase a discounted Greyhound bus ticket in Montreal in 2012.

His OneCard was issued in fall2010 — the only date present on the ID.

“I couldn’t prove I was still inschool with the card because it wasn’t that year anymore,” Milos said.

Some businesses have confused this with the expiry date (it’s not clearly marked) and rejected students, like Milos, discounts.

He later complained on Soap-Box, a Ryerson ideas page, but was unsatisfied with the reply the school gave him. They suggested Milos get an international student identification card (ISIC), which has an expiry date, for free through the Ryerson Students’ Union(RSU). Though Milos is a domes-tic student, he and all Ryerson students are eligible for the card.

Other schools have different student ID policies. York University provides cards for students at the start of their first semester, which is valid for five years.

“The problem with an expiry date [is that] you could drop out and it would still say you’re in school,” Milos said.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) annually places a coloured sticker on each student’s card with the school year on it, indicating that it’s currently valid. Ryerson used use the sticker method, but changed to its current policy in 2010.

“I understand handing out On-eCards every year could be expensive, but I don’t think slapping a tiny sticker to show that you are enrolled at a university is any better,” Jeyan Jeganathan, a recent Ryerson journalism grad, said.

Jeganathan encountered problems similar to Milos while setting up a student banking account.

“When I wanted to renew my banking [at CIBC] every year, theywould always ask me to providesomething,” Jeganathan said. “I would have to explain that this is how Ryerson’s ID card system works.”

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said that he’s never heard of problems with the OneCard before but wants the expiry date or sticker to be re-implemented.

“We should make sure that whatever we do optimizes the benefits for our students so if an expiry date is an important element of that we sure would consider it and implement it,” Levy said.

“If it is for the banks or insurance companies, we recommend they print their fee statement or schedule off their RAMSS account,” Darcy Flynn, OneCard manager, said via email. Flynn said there are currently no plans to change the policy.

RSU president Melissa Palermo also recommended picking up anISIC but would prefer more options for students.

“I would encourage the university to explore a better way to identify that cards are valid for discounts,” Palermo said.

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