Ventra U-Pass

Ventra U-Pass provides unlimited rides on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains for students who are enrolled for at least 6 credit hours. Graduate students enrolled in an eligible thesis course are also eligible for a U-Pass. All eligible students are billed the U-Pass Fee on their tuition account.

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

The U-Pass Fee for the fall and spring semesters is $153; the summer fee is $115. The U-Pass Fee will not be pro-rated based on enrollment status.

Summer 2024 Ventra U-Pass Information

Participation in the U-Pass program is optional. If you do not want your U-Pass for the summer semester, you must submit the Summer 2024 U-Pass Opt-Out form.

Beginning May 2024, you will receive an email from Columbia Central with the subject line “Summer U-Pass Opt-Out” that contains a link to the Summer 2024 U-Pass Opt-Out Form. If you do NOT want to participate in the U-Pass program for the Summer 2024 semester, please submit the Summer 2024 U-Pass Opt-Out form by 5:00 p.m. CST on Friday, June 14, 2024. Forms submitted after this deadline will not be honored.

You should only complete the Summer 2024 U-Pass Opt-Out form if you are certain that you do not want to participate in the U-Pass program for the Summer 2024 semester. If you complete this form, your U-Pass will not be activated for the fall semester. After you submit the opt-out form, please allow up to 5 business days for the $115 U-Pass Fee to be removed from your student account.

If you choose to opt out of U-Pass, please retain your Ventra U-Pass for use in future semesters.

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

New Students 
Freshmen, Transfer and New Graduate Students:

If you plan to participate in the U-Pass program, you should submit your Campus Card photo and be enrolled for 6 credit hours. 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?

If you are enrolled for a minimum of 6 credit hours and have not opted-out of the U-Pass program, you may pick up your U-Pass on the dates and locations listed below. Please note: a valid Campus Card is required to pick up your U-Pass.

Important Dates for Ventra U-Pass

Spring 2024:  Activated on January 17, 2024 Deactivated on May 15, 2024

Summer 2024:  Activated on May 23, 2024 Deactivated on August 22, 2024

Fall 2024:  Activated on August 28, 2024 Deactivated on December 22, 2024

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