Metro University Pass

The U·Pass program, which was adopted by an overwhelming student vote in fall 2016, provides 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. The program extends to all full-time undergraduate, graduate, and law students.

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. 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 Commuter Services will handle replacement requests and late pick-ups. Lost or stolen cards should be reported online to the Office of Parking and Commuter Services.

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 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.
  • 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.

Preparing for the 2017-2018 year:

  • Retain your U·Pass. It will be reactivated automatically on January 5, 2018.
  • Students returning from study abroad or hiatus: your U·Pass has been permanently deactivated. You will need to obtain a new U·Pass in Spring 2018.
  • Graduating students will have their cards deactivated and do not need to be returned.
  • Returning students from the Fall 2017 semester must use their U·Pass by January 20, 2018 to avoid deactivation. If deactivated, you will need to visit Parking & Commuter Services for a replacement.

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. The program is up for a student vote took place February 29-March 4, 2016 and students approved the program, with 85% in favor, 15% against.

If you were not able to pick up your card during campus distribution, go to the Office of Parking and Commuter Services located in the Terrace level of the Don Myers Building during their regular business hours.

Students can purchase a replacement card for $20 replacement fee at the Office of Parking & Commuter Services. Only one replacement card will be allowed per semester. If a card was stolen and a police report was filed, the $20 replacement fee may be waived after providing the report.

The cost is the equivalent of $1.00 a day. At American, the total fee students will pay is $130 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 is an unlimited pass, not a stored value card.

American University was the first school in D.C. to enroll in the program pilot. Since then, Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College has followed and others are in conversation with WMATA.

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.

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 website for maps, trip planner, and other useful information at:

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.

Yes, since it is a mandatory student fee, it is considered part of the cost of attendance and included in overall cost calculations for financial aid.

At this time, the technology is not compatible. We hope to offer this option in the future.

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.

The summer session is not included as part of the pilot program. It could be considered for future program implementation, depending on factors including market feasibility and student feedback.

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.

Students with disabilities who receive free Metro Access will not have to pay for this program.

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 is there and it is for unlimited rides.

Every U-Pass needs to be touched at a MetroRail Station Farebox as soon as possible. If a U-Pass is not used, it will be deactivated, and you will need to visit the Office of Parking & Commuter Services for reactivation.

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 the Office of Parking & Commuter Services.

Activation Dates Undergradute, Gradute & WCL

  • Fall 2017: August 16 - December 29, 2017
  • Spring 2018: January 5 - May 20, 2018

Picking Up Your Card

If you are a new, full-time student or were abroad for Fall 2017, you must pick up your U·Pass card in Spring 2018. 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.

Questions? E-mail:
Read the full policy online.