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Colleges across the US and Canada are adopting virtual student IDs

Apple has expanded support for the digital cards across the US and Canada

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The University of Alabama will be the first school to exclusively issue mobile student IDs this fall.
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Apple Wallet has supported contactless student IDs since 2018, with three US universities supporting the feature at launch. The program has been gradually expanding ever since. Yesterday, the company announced that its virtual IDs will finally arrive in Canada this fall. An unspecified number of additional US universities will adopt it for the first time as well.

The University of New Brunswick and Sheridan College will be the first two Canadian schools to use Apple Wallet IDs. The new US roster includes Auburn, Northern Arizona University, University of Maine, and New Mexico State University, in addition to “many more colleges across the country.” The University of Alabama, one of the program’s early adopters, will also be the first school to issue exclusively mobile student IDs (to students with eligible devices) this fall. (Those with Android phones can use the digital cards through Google Pay.)

Apple claims that “tens of thousands of college students” will have access to the feature during this upcoming school year.

Duke University Campus
Duke was one of the first universities to support virtual IDs in 2018.
Photo by Lance King / Getty Images

In theory, the virtual student ID should offer all the functionality of a regular student ID — holders can access restricted areas of campus or pay for amenities like food and laundry by placing their iPhone or Apple Watch near a physical reader. Transaction history isn’t shared with Apple or stored on Apple’s servers.

The new student ID format is part of Apple’s larger effort to expand Apple Wallet’s functionality. The app can also store hotel room keys with the release of iOS 15 and will support driver’s licenses and state IDs.