Ventra U-Pass

Ventra U-Pass provides unlimited rides on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains for students who are enrolled full-time. This includes graduate students enrolled in an eligible thesis course. Undergraduates are considered full-time when enrolled for at least 12 credit hours, while graduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 9 credit hours in the Fall and Spring semesters, 5 credit hours for the Summer semester, or enrolled in a thesis course.

Spring 2022 Ventra U-Pass Information

Although participation in this program is usually mandatory for full-time students, the CTA announced that for the Spring 2022 semester only, colleges may allow full-time students to decide if they want a U-Pass or not. The U-Pass program is an excellent value for students, and Columbia is planning for many more in-person course offerings and activities for the Spring 2022 semester.

Beginning December 2021, you were sent an email from Columbia Central with the subject line “U-Pass will be optional for the Spring 2022 semester” that contains a link to the Spring 2022 U-Pass Opt-Out Form. If you do NOT want to participate in the U-Pass program for the Spring 2022 semester, please complete the Spring 2022 U-Pass Opt-Out form by 5:00 p.m. CST on Friday, February 11, 2022. Forms completed after this deadline will not be honored.

You should only complete the Spring 2022 U-Pass Opt-Out form if you are certain that you do not want to participate in the U-Pass program for the Spring 2022 semester. If you complete this form, your U-Pass will not be activated for the spring semester. Once you have completed the opt-out form, please allow up to 5 business days for the $153 U-Pass Fee to be removed from your student account.

Please be aware that the option to opt out of Ventra U-Pass may not be offered in future semesters and is at the discretion of the Chicago Transit Authority. If you choose to opt out of U-Pass, please retain your Ventra U-Pass for use in future semesters.

As a reminder, participation in the Ventra U-Pass program requires full-time enrollment.

If you have any questions about the Ventra U-Pass program, please email us at

New Students – Spring 2022

Freshmen, Transfer and New Graduate Students: If you plan to participate in the U-Pass program for the Spring 2022 semester, you should submit your Campus Card photo and be enrolled full-time no later than January 7, 2022, to ensure timely delivery of your U-Pass. For an optimal service experience, we recommend that you submit your photo and finalize your schedule as soon as possible. Your Campus Card photo will also be used on your U-Pass card.

How do I receive my U-Pass?


Spring 2022 Campus Card & U-Pass Distribution
Dates: January 19, 2022 – February 4, 2022
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: 33 E. Ida B Wells, one door south from the entrance on Wabash Ave.

Please remember that a valid Columbia Campus Card is required to pick up your U-Pass.

Returning Students – Spring 2022
If you received a Ventra U-Pass during a prior semester
and do not want to participate in the spring semester U-Pass program, please complete the Spring 2022 U-Pass Opt-Out form by 5:00 p.m. CST on Friday, February 11, 2022. Forms completed after this deadline will not be honored.

If you do not submit the Spring 2022 U-Pass Opt-Out Form, your current U-Pass will be activated automatically on January 19, 2022. If you enroll full time after January 19, allow 2 business days for your U-Pass to be activated.

If you are receiving your first Ventra U-Pass and are enrolled full time, Columbia Central will send an email to your Columbia email account in January regarding the U-Pass pickup dates and location prior to the Spring 2022 U-Pass activation date of January 19, 2022.

Important Dates for Ventra U-Pass

Fall 2021:
Activated on September 2, 2021   Deactivated on December 23, 2021

Spring 2022:
Activated on January 19, 2022   Deactivated on May 18, 2022

Summer 2022:
Activated on May 26, 2022   Deactivated on August 25, 2022

Important Information About Ventra U-Pass

Full-time students who participate in the Spring 2022 U-Pass program will be charged the U-Pass Fee of $153 for the semester. The breakdown of this cost is below. 


Daily Rate Charged by the CTA

Number of Days in the
U-Pass Program

Total Cost Charged by the CTA Columbia's Administrative Fee Total Cost for the Term
Fall  2021 $1.25 118 $147.50 $5.50 $153
Spring  2022 $1.25 120 $150.00 $3.00 $153
Summer 2022 $1.25 92 $115 $0 $115

Part-time students are ineligible for the Ventra U-Pass.

For more information about the U-Pass program, visit the Ventra Customer Service website.

Things to Keep in Mind

You must have a valid Columbia Campus Card to pick up your Ventra U-Pass card.

You must activate the card before you use it by calling the Ventra phone number listed on the card sleeve, 877-450-5328.

It is important to register your Ventra U-Pass card so your account balance is protected. If you don't register your card, you will lose unused balances on your account once your card expires, or if your card is lost or stolen. Registering your card also offers you easy account management options online, by phone, or through the Ventra App.

If you are enrolled in an off-campus program for the entire semester—including Semester in LA and Study Abroad—you are not charged the U-Pass Fee and your U-Pass will not be activated for the semester.

Transfer Students who received a Ventra U-Pass at their previous school may bring their Ventra card to the U-Pass distribution event to have the U-Pass benefit transferred over to Columbia College Chicago.

If you drop below full-time enrollment during the add/drop period of the semester, the U-Pass Fee will be credited on your tuition account and you will not be eligible for the Ventra U-Pass, per the agreement between Columbia College Chicago and the CTA. An email will be sent to your Columbia email account notifying you of the deactivation. Please be sure you are prepared to cover your public transportation costs or make other transportation arrangements if you drop below full-time enrollment.

  • Adding Funds to Your Ventra U-Pass

    You can still use your Ventra U-Pass when school is not in session or you do not qualify as a full-time student. Simply add full-fare passes or transit value to your Ventra U-Pass and use the card like a reloadable Ventra card.

    To check your balance, visit the Ventra Chicago website.

  • Replacing Your U-Pass

    If you have questions or concerns regarding your U-Pass, please contact us at

    The fee to replace a lost or stolen Ventra U-Pass is $50. You may order your replacement online, or bring in a cashier's check or money order to the Columbia Central office. If you lose your card more than once, Ventra may revoke your U-Pass privileges. For more information, visit the Ventra U-Pass website.

    When tapping your card on the card reader, be sure it is separate from all other debit, credit, or bank cards. The CTA card readers allow for the use of smart cards, so they can read and pull money from any smart card. It is important that the reader is only reading your Ventra U-Pass.

    If your card does not work after it has been activated, take it to the Ventra Customer Service Office at 567 W. Lake St. in Chicago. Ventra will determine if the card is damaged or defective and, if so, will issue you a Defective Card form and a temporary pass, and waive the $50 replacement fee. To request a new Ventra U-Pass, you must bring the Defective Card form to the Campus Card Office and allow a minimum of 7-10 business days for delivery.

    Visit the Ventra website for more information.

  • Fixing a Negative Balance

    If you used your Ventra U-Pass after the U-Pass fare was deactivated at the end of the semester, but did not add funds to the Transit Account on the card, you may have a negative balance on your card and your U-Pass fare will not be activated until the negative balance is resolved with Ventra. You can check your balance online, or call Ventra at 877-669-8368.

Academic Dates and Deadlines