CTA Ventra U-Pass

Card Policy 

Pas with handContinue using your Ventra CTA Upass for Fall Semester 2024 (August 26 , 2024 to December 13, 2024). CTA will have implemented the Open Standards Fare System, (OSFS) which is a contactless fare media system. The Ventra card is one type of contactless fare media. All schools participating in the U-Pass Card program will use Ventra cards as Student U-Pass Cards.

The Ventra U-Pass Card will provide eligible, all full-time students with unlimited rides on CTA busses and trains throughout the duration of an academic term at a reduced cost. The Ventra U-Pass Card eliminates the need to re-issue a U-Pass Cards every semester. The Ventra U-Pass Card also allows participating students to ride CTA buses and trains while school is out of session and on Pace buses. A full-fare charge will be deducted from the student’s transit account for these trips.

Cards are not be automatically activated. The student must activate their card. Email your request to upass@csu.edu with your UID# and Card Number for activation for Fall Semester on August 26, 2024.

All  full-time students enrolled are required to have a Ventra U-Pass Card.  “Full time student” is defined by the written policy of the school and the definition is valid for both graduate and undergraduate students. A charge of $170 will be applied to your student account each Fall and Spring Term if you are a full time registered student.

 Students that are enrolled Part-Time may also purchase the Ventra U-Pass card for $170.00.  (see Cashier Office)

CTA sets the price for the Ventra U-Pass Card on an annual basis. For the 2024-2025 Academic year, the Ventra U-Pass Card is $170.00 per semester.  All full-time students will have their accounts billed automatically.  If you drop below full-time hours of enrollment, your Ventra U-Pass Card will be deactivated.

The Chicago Transit Authority designed U-Pass Card program not only as a way to offer a discount to full-time students but also to increase CTA ridership.  Therefore, for a school to participate in the program, CTA requires that all full-time students at the school receive a U-Pass Card.  However, there are limited circumstances when the U-Pass Card may be waived if the student meets one of the following criteria: 

  • Student enroll in ALL distance learning or online courses
  • Student enrolled in ALL extension courses
  • Student studying abroad
  • Student who is 62 years or older
  • United State Veterans
  • CTA Employees

In order for a fee waive to be considered, the student must submit all requests in writing with supporting documentation to the Cashier’s Office ADM 211 by 5pm on September 20, 2024.  We can be reached by telephone at (773) 995-2029 or email to upass@csu.edu.

Yes,  CTA will allow full-time students to opt out of purchasing a U-Pass for the Fall 2024 term.

For students who choose to opt out, the deadline is September 20, 2024.

If you would like to opt-out, you will need to complete the Opt Out Form, and email to the upass@csu.edu. Please allow 30 days after the approval for the adjustemt to be posted to your student account. 

Dates to Remember

  • August 26, 2024 thru December 13, 2024 Ventra Upass Effective dates
  • September 20, 2024 Last day to Order Ventra Upass and opt out

Allow a minimum of 10 to 14 business days for your card to arrive at the university.

  • August 26, 2024 thru December 13, 2024 Ventra Upass Effective dates
  • September 20, 2024 Last day to Order Ventra Upass and to opt out.

Allow a minimum of 10 to 14 business days for your card to arrive at the university.

Each full-time student will receive a Ventra Card at the first distribution following the student’s enrollment at the school.  The Ventra Card will be registered to the student’s account by the school, who will assign valid term to the student’s account. The student will retain the same Ventra Card during his or her entire academic career with the school unless the card is lost, misplaced, stolen or misused.  

Ventra App Notifications: The Ventra App can give you real-time account notifications—much like apps for other account-based services you use.

Cards will not be automatically activated, please email Upass@csu.edu with UID # and Card Number to be activated beginning August 26, 2024.

Fall 2024 semester Ventra U-Pass Card distribution will be by appointment only. Make sure you have taken a CSU ID picture because this is the same picture used for your Upass.

Pick-up location: Cashier’s Office Cook ADM 211, from 10 am until 4pm

For Ventra transit accounts the app notifies you when:

  • Value has been loaded to your transit account, online or by phone
  • A pass has been loaded to your transit account, online or by phone
  • Autoload for transit value occurred
  • Autoload for a pass occurred
  • Your transit value balance is low (below $5)
  • Your transit value balance has gone negative
  • An active pass is expiring
  • An active pass has expired

For Metra tickets you’ll be notified when:

  • A weekend or monthly Metra ticket is expiring soon
  • A weekend or monthly Metra ticket has expired
  • A ticket has been recalled from one of your devices*
  • A ticket has been delivered to one of your devices*

*These notifications are related to when you move a ticket from one device to another, such as if one is lost or stolen or if you upgrade your phone.

Turning app notifications on/off

You can enable or disable notifications in your system settings on either Android or iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices.


App notifications are configured in Settings.

  1. Go to your device’s Settings. (Settings location is unique to your device, but can typically be gotten by swiping down with two fingers and tapping the gear icon)
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Scroll down and tap the Ventra app.
  4. Check or uncheck the box to Show notifications for this app.

The setting can be changed at any time. Your default notification sound will be used when your device receives a notification. 

App notifications are configured in Settings.

  1. Go to your device’s Settings. (It’s a gear-icon on one of your home screens.)
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Scroll down and tap the Ventra app.*
  4. Tap the slider next to “Allow Notifications” to switch notifications on or off.

The Ventra app will be grouped under “Include” or “Do not include” depending on its current setting in your iPhone or iPad.

Cell Phone App

E-mail notifications for these events are also available. The e-mail notifications you receive for certain events is determined by your choice of settings in your account online. 

To manage whether or not you also get optional account alerts by e-mail, log on to ventrachicago.com and change your notification settings listedn in your Account Settings. Some e-mails are sent automatically, such as when your card is expiring, usage receipts, and important information in the event there's a problem with your account. 

Your e-mail setting is independent of whether or not you have your device set to allow the app to give you notifications. (You can switch them on or off separately, and get both kinds, if you like.)

Students who have completed the authorization form and contacted the Ventra U-Pass coordinator will pick up their Ventra U-Pass Card at the Cashier’s Office located in the Cook ADM 211 daily from 10am to 4pm.

Yes.  The Ventra U-Pass Card will be effective for up to five (5) years and the student may continue to use the card after graduation or withdrawal from the University.  However, a regular CTA fare will be charged if the card holder is no longer a student.  Every effort will be made to distribute Ventra U-Pass cards before the activation date.  Your U-Pass Coordinator will announce the dates and times.

No, never.  Ventra U-Pass Cards are not transferable and will be confiscated by the CTA and its holder subject to criminal prosecution if it is misused or presented for transportation by any person other than the person to whom it is issued.  CTA maintains the right to inspect the Ventra U-Pass Card used by a student and to ask for another form of identification to ensure that the pass is being used by the person to whom it is issued.  Furthermore, CTA maintains the right to deny a student access to the CTA system at the Ventra U-Pas Card Reduced fee if the student does not possess both the Ventra Card and a current student ID.

Lost, stolen and/or damaged cards require a SWORN STATEMENT to be signed by each student who wish to replace their Ventra U-Pass due to being lost/stolen. The missing card should be reported to Chicago State Cashier’s Office (ADM 211) between the hours of 10am to 4pm. The card will be deactivated.

CTA required a payment of $50.00 for a lost, stolen and/or damaged Ventra U-Pass card.  Students, who return to school without their initial U-Pass card, should be considered lost/stolen and therefore a new card had to be issued. The replacement fee for a lost/stolen card is fifty dollars ($50.00). This fee is paid at the Chicago State University Cashier’s Office ADM 211.

Most students damage their U-Pass by allowing it to touch the magnetic strip of another card such as a credit card.  If a card is damaged, there is a replacement fee of $50.00.

Students may use the Ventra card as a “regular” fare; however, the student MUST first load the Ventra card with Transit value or Transit Pass value.  Transit value can be loaded at any participating Ventra retail location and/or at any Ventra vending machine at any CTA rail station.  Additionally, students can also load/reload the card using a credit/debit/ or ACH online.

A card will be considered defective if it cannot be read by a Ventra reader AND has never been used before.  If the card has been used one time or more, it is determined that the user must have damaged it.  Most students damage their U-Pass by allowing it to touch the magnetic strip of another card such as a credit card.  IF a card is damaged, there is a replacement fee.

Per the CTA U-Pass contract, the school is responsible for enforcing CTA’s rules regarding re-entry into the U-Pass program for any student who’s U-Pass is confiscated due to improper use. 

If a card is captured by a card reader on a bus or train, it is not considered a student error.  Contact the bus driver to get a receipt stating the card was captured, or contact the CTA personnel to write a “Fare Discrepancy Report.”  The CTA personnel will give the student a free transit card to get to their destination.  Students must then take the receipt to CTA to request a new U-Pass.  It will take five to seven business days for a replacement card to be mailed to Chicago State University from the CTA.  This replacement card will be sent to the Cashier’s Office for pick up.