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Metro University Pass

American University Metro Pass Program

2017-2018 Academic Year

Preparing for the year:

  • Current students with an active U●Pass: Retain your U●Pass. It will be reactivated automatically on August 16, 2017.
  • Students returning from study abroad or hiatus: your U●Pass has been permanently deactivated. You will need to obtain a new U●Pass in August 2017.
  • Graduating students: your U●Pass will be deactivated and does not need to be returned.
  • Fall 2017 U●Pass distribution dates and locations will be announced during the summer. 


2017-2018 U●Pass Program Dates, Fees and Eligibility:

For the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year, the U●Pass will be valid for 136 days per semester. The mandatory fee will be $136.00 per semester, maintaining the $1 per day fee structure. During the Fall 2017 semester, the U●Pass will be active beginning on August 16, 2017 and ending on December 29, 2017. During the Spring 2018 semester, the U●Pass will be active beginning on January 5, 2017 and ending on May 20, 2018.

All full-time undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for the U●Pass. AU and WMATA continue to explore similar reduced cost transit options to other segments of our community not currently covered by the U●Pass. 

Pick Up Your University Pass Card

If you are a new, full-time student or were abroad for Spring 2017, you must pick up your University Pass card in Fall 2017. 

Students can pick-up their UPass from the following locations:

  • August 16, 2017 12:00-4:00 p.m.
    Washington College of Law Commons
  • August 17, 2017 12:00-5:00 p.m.
    Washington College of Law Commons
  • August 19, 2017 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Mary Graydon Center Marketplace
  • August 20, 2017 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Don Myers Building, Terrace Level, University Police
  • August 25, 2017 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    Don Myers Building, Terrace Level, University Police 
  • August 26, 2017 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    Don Myers Building, Terrace Level, University Police

  • August 28, 2017 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    Don Myers Building, Terrace Level, University Police

After initial distribution, University Pass cards may be picked up in the Parking Office during regular hours of operation. The card you receive will automatically reactivate for you next semester, as long as you remain a full-time student and are not abroad.

If you a returning student and you lost your card, you must pay a $20 fee. Replacement cards are available at the Parking & Commuter Services Office or at a distribution location. Distribution locations require cash and exact change only for the replacement fee. As a reminder, lost or stolen cards may only be replaced once per semester.

U-Pass Activation Dates

Undergraduate, Graduate & WCL Students

Fall 2017: August 16 - December 29, 2017

Spring 2018: January 5 - May 10, 2018


University Pass Pilot Program

The University Pass (U●Pass) pilot program is available to all full-time undergraduate, graduate, and law students beginning with the fall 2016 semester. The U●Pass program, which was adopted by an overwhelming student vote last year, will provide unlimited rides throughout the semester on Metrorail and Metrobus (including express and airport shuttle buses) for trips to school, work, internships, cultural events, and entertainment.


Since the program’s approval in March 2016, AU has worked with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to provide students with the benefit for a flat fee of $130 per semester ($260 total for the 2016 – 2017 academic year). This mandatory student fee will appear on the student bill for all full-time undergraduate, graduate, and law students.  However, the fee will not be assessed for all full-time distance (online) learning, MetroAccess-eligible, and study-abroad students (for the semester they are abroad).For students with financial aid, the fee is included in the cost of attendance. AU’s cost of attendance has not increased. Instead, the estimated cost of transportation has been adjusted to account for this program.

Students utilize the U●Pass using a personal SmarTrip card, provided by the WMATA and AU. Cards will be available for pick-up at the beginning of the semester, and will be linked to a unique serial number for each student.  After an initial distribution of cards on Main Campus and Washington College of Law, the Office of Parking and Traffic Services will handle replacement requests and late pick-ups. Lost or stolen cards should be reported online to the Office of Parking and Traffic Services. Replacements for lost cards will cost $20, and a maximum of one replacement will be provided each semester.

Read the full policy or e-mail

Quick facts:

  • The goal of the program is to save you money on Metro, avoid the hassles of driving, and help us take cars off the road for a cleaner environment.
  • The cost of the pass will be added as a mandatory student fee for all full-time undergraduate, graduate, and law students and can be covered by financial aid.
  • $130 per semester will be added to the student fee of all full time students for a total of $260 per academic year. This program excludes distance learning programs, Metro Access eligible students, and students studying abroad for the semester they are abroad.
  • The pilot year for this program is Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.
  • The pass is good for any type of trip: to school, work, internships, recreational events, and personal trips.
  • The pass does not cover parking fees at Metro stations.
  • AU is the first university in D.C. to offer the pass. Students may be asked to show their AU ID when using this pass.
  • The pass is valid for the registered user only. You must produce this card and/or your AU Student Identification Card if requested by an authorized transit employee or police.
  • The pass is limited to exclusive use by the full-time student enrolled at American University to whom the card is issued, valid only during the academic calendar dates identified by your school. The pass is not transferable and may be confiscated by WMATA and its holder may be subject to criminal prosecution if it is misused or presented for transportation by any person other than the person to whom it is issued. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Can I opt out of the program if I do not think it will benefit me?

A: No. All full-time students will be enrolled in the program and cannot opt out. The program is up for a student vote took place February 29-March 4, 2016 and students approved the program -85% in favor, 15% against.

Q: Where do I pick up my card if I missed the distribution dates?  

A: If you were not able to pick up your card during campus distribution, go to the Parking Office during their regular business hours.

Q: What if my University Pass is lost or stolen?
A: Report a lost or stolen card. Parking Services will then follow-up with you.  For a replacement card, a $20 replacement fee will be charged at AU Parking and Traffic Services. Only one replacement card will be allowed per semester. 

Q: How much is the pass? 
A: The cost is the equivalent of $1.00 a day. At American, the total fee students will pay is $136 for each of the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters for the 2017-2018 academic year. There is no need to refill the card or supplement the card in any way. It’s an unlimited pass, not a stored value card.
Q: What schools are participating in the University Pass Pilot Program?
A: There are currently no D.C. schools enrolled in the University Pass Program Pilot. American University is the first school to adopt the program in D.C., although other schools are in conversations with WMATA. 
Q: Who is eligible to participate in the University Pass Pilot Program?
A: Full-time students at accredited post-secondary, degree granting schools within WMATA’s service area that enter into an agreement with WMATA are eligible. At AU, this covers full-time undergraduate and graduate students, including Washington College of Law students.
Q: Where can I go with my University Pass?
A: The University Pass offers unlimited riding on WMATA’S buses and trains during the semester for trips to school, work, internships, cultural events and entertainment. It covers the entire WMATA bus and train system. In Tenleytown, you can even hop on the M4 Metro bus to Ward Circle if one is available before the AU shuttle arrives. Please visit for maps, trip planner and other useful information.
Q: Materials used to promote the pilot program noted that the pass could save the average AU student up to $1,000 a year. How can I save $1,000 a year?
A: The $1,000 cost savings estimate is based on a comparison of WMATA’s full fare and assumes one round trip each business day during two semesters. Actual savings will vary based on usage. The more you ride, the more you save.
Q: Can the fees for University Pass be paid with financial aid?
A: Yes. Because this is a mandatory student fee, it is considered part of the cost of attendance and included in overall cost calculations for financial aid.
Q: Will the pass be incorporated on AU’s ID cards?
A: At this time, the technology is not compatible. We hope to offer this option in the future.
Q: Can I share my University Pass with my friends?
A: No. The University Pass is limited to exclusive use by the full-time student enrolled at American University or Washington College of Law.
Q: I commute to school by car--does the University Pass have any benefits for me?
A: The University Pass gives you an opportunity to get out of your car and reduce transportation costs, increase eco-mobility options, reduce congestion and emissions, avoid traffic congestion, and save on parking, gas and upkeep. We hope the program will encourage students who drive to change to Metro. Also, we know that many students use Uber and they can choose the pass as a less costly alternative.
Q: Will the University Pass cover the summer semester?
A: The summer semester is not included as part of the pilot program or summer 2017. It could be considered for future program implementation, depending on factors including market feasibility and student feedback.
Q: Will online students who don’t live in the Washington, D.C. region have to pay for this?
A: Online students are not included in this program regardless of their location. Online programs have separate fees and semester timelines that do not make them compatible with this program.
Q: Will students studying abroad for a semester or year need to pay for the fee each semester?
A: AU Abroad students will not need to pay the fee for the semester that they are not on campus. If you had a University pass and then went abroad, you will need to pick up a new pass upon your return.
Q: Will students with disabilities who already have discounted fares have to pay for this?
A: Students with disabilities who receive free Metro Access will not have to pay for this program.
Q: Does this mean professors will include more field trips in the city?
A: The pass removes a barrier to get around the city and we will be reaching out to professors to let them know about this in the fall. It gives every AU student access to Metro. Students never have to worry whether they have enough money on their card. It’s there and it’s for unlimited rides.

Q: What do I need to do to activate my U-Pass?
Every U-Pass needs to be touched at a Metrorail Station Farebox by September 9, 2017. If a U-Pass is not used by September 9, it will be deactivated, and you will need to visit Parking & Commuter Services for reactivation. 

Q: Are you enrolled in an AU graduate degree program after graduating from AU in May 2017?
Students moving from an undergraduate to a graduate program will need a new U-Pass. You will not be charged a replacement fee. Stop by a distribution location or visit Parking & Commuter Services.

Posted August 15. 2017. Read the full policy or e-mail