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Credit: Sydney Judge

For students across the country, the worries of carrying a physical ID may become a thing of the past.

Since Oct. 2, students at Duke University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Oklahoma will now be able to present their iPhones and Apple Watches as acceptable forms of campus ID. By syncing their IDs with Apple Wallet, students will also be able to monitor their funds associated with their student accounts for various amenities. Although these are the first schools that have partnered with Apple to make these features available, other universities will likely join by the end of the school year, reported 9 to 5 Mac

Apple is looking to expand this policy to other schools including Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University, and, closer to home, Temple University. 

Penn is beginning to explore whether digital IDs can be a possibility for Quakers, too.  

"Penn is interested in understanding the opportunities that are offered by digital IDs and in the preliminary stages of doing so," Vice President of Information Technology Tom Murphy said in an emailed statement. 

Murphy, who is also the University CIO, went on to explain that representatives from BlackBoard, one of PennCard's software providers, gave Penn administrators an overview of new digital card initiatives. BlackBoard is also the company working with Apple to develop student IDs for Duke, Johns Hopkins, Temple, and other schools.  

"The conversation was very informative and highlighted that Penn’s first steps would be to determine how a digital card fits into Penn’s overall identity management and security strategies and to evaluate the ways that a digital credential would enhance the usability and functionality offered by the physical ID card that we currently issue," Murphy added.  

At Duke, students still have the option to use a physical ID, and some think using digital ID is unnecessary and inconvenient. “The idea of logging into Apple Wallet and going through the whole process to add a card seems kind of cumbersome,” Duke freshman Margot Armbruster said.  

The new policy does, however, make it easier for students to access much of their information at the same time in one place.

“With the Apple Wallet system, we don’t have to make a purchase or go online to see that balance. We can just log into our phones and it’s already there, displayed in one place,” Armbruster said.

Although the potential policy is not well-known among students at Temple, Temple freshman Robert Loebe said he is excited about the conveniences that come with having a digital ID. 

“I’ve lost my student ID many times," Loebe said. "I think students are less likely to lose their phones." 

Although there have been no plans announced for Penn to adopt a similar policy, some students would be open to the idea of using digital IDs if further considerations were taken. College freshman Jaden Cloobeck mentioned the policy would help Penn students who frequently forget their IDs, though Cloobeck expressed concerns about the security of using digital identification. Additionally, Cloobeck would like to see the policy expanded to all devices, not just Apple.

Penn has also been reflecting a national shift to the digital, installing a digital lock system across campus and offering the Ivy League's first online bachelor's degree program. Penn students will have to see if the University will continue this trend with digitizing campus IDs.  

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