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 adoption 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, or 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. U·Pass holders must use a separate SmarTrip card and pay the “Non-Rider” 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 2018-2019 year:

  • Students may pick-up their new U·Pass at the Office of Parking & Commuter Services.
  • If you are a returning student, your card has been deactivated permanently. You will have to pick-up a new card.
  • Students must have their OneCard (AU ID Card) to recieve their U·Pass.

No. The U-Pass is covered by a mandatory fee, similar to the Fitness Facility and Student Activities Fees.

If you were not able to pick up your card during campus distribution, go to the Office of Parking & 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 $136 for the fall and spring semesters. 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. Since then, several other schools have adopted the program and others in conversation with WMATA. 

Full-time undergraduate, graduate and law students are eligible for the U-Pass and are automatically assessed the U-Pass fee. Full-time status is governed by AU's academic regulations. Online and study abroad students are not eligible for the U-Pass.

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: www.wmata.com

At this time, the U·Pass cannot be used on other transit services such as RideOn, ART, or the DC Circulator. WMATA hopes to expand the program to cover these regional transit services in the future. 

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. AU and WMATA continue to partner on improving the U-Pass program.

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 program. It could be considered for future program implementation, depending on factors including market feasibility and student feedback.

Students enrolled in an online program, regardless of their location, are not eligible for the U-Pass.

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.

Before you contact the Office of Parking & Commuter Services regarding a damaged or non-functioning card, give your card to a Metrorail Station Manager for help. Your card may have become “inverted” by failure to “tap out” of the rail system properly. Please be sure to “tap in“ and “tap out” to complete your trip.

Doctoral students living outside of the Metro service area must contact their faculty advisor to apply for a fee waiver from Student Accounts.

Activation Dates Undergrad, Graduate, & WCL

  • Fall 2018: August 17 - December 30, 2018
  • Spring 2019: January 8 - May 23, 2019

Picking Up Your Card

Students may pick-up their U·Pass at any of the distribution locations at the start of the semester or afterwards at the Office of Parking & Commuter Services. Returning students will have to pick-up a new card and may recycle their old card at any distribution location or by dropping it off at the Office of Parking & Commuter Services.


Spring 2019 Distribution

Thursday, January 10
2:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Kerwin Hall Lobby

Questions? E-mail: upass@american.edu
Read the full policy online.