Progress on Student Cards

Firstly I sincerely hope you all got the examination results you were looking for. I’m glad to be able to report some progress on the issue of student cards. From my experience speaking to students – both on-line and at study weekends at LSE this is a very important issue that needs clear dialog and discussion between the student community and the International Academy.

Many of you that study in EMFSS (and frequent our VLE) are aware that there has been discussions going on with the University about student identity. I have been working to address this issue on behalf of students this year. Back in March I sat down with Professor Jonathan Kydd in London and we spoke about the broader issue of helping to infuse the sense of student community and the benefits and cost of student identification. We agreed from that meeting to take this issue further this Autumn and I will be involved with drafting questions to be put to the student community on how they feel on the subject.

Furthermore at the last QASL meeting in July I raised the issue of student identity as an outstanding problem, and as a result an evaluation on the feasibility of student cards has been included as part as the larger “Business Transformation Project” that has been under-way during the summer. I will find out what the results of this evalution in the next meeting of QASL in October.

I would really like to hear your thoughts about student identity and community – especially from students that I do not have regular communication with, from outside EMFSS. I am interested to hear what student identity means to you, ideas you have in fostering it at a college and university level. I want to learn what a student card means to you, why you would like it, what use it has to you and what you think about the costs involved.

Furthermore as a result of my input to QASL, there will be a summery of the current situation with relationship with the University of London Union conducted for the next QASL. This I hope will bring every member of the committee up to speed and is an important step at strengthening student representation for external students.

As ever you can email me at with your thoughts. At time of writing this, the university email system does not seem to be working so you can contact me on my personal email address

30 thoughts on “Progress on Student Cards

  1. Thank you so much for this piece,with all sincerity i once felt dejected by my school wich nearly costs me my studies because of our school’s failure to respond to almost all the questions i raised that will help me progress.Initially,i raised this issue and iam sure many students did the same.And probably your meeting with that prof.has yielded a positive result not only to EMFSS students but to the entire university community,many thank once again.


  2. It’s indeed a very good thought of making personal student IDs. Even though we do are students of the UoL International Programme we hardly have any recognition of that in our country, and thus we often have to refer to ourselves as simply being part of the smaller community of students of our respected tuition providing institutions.
    As for the cost of issuing student IDs, I believe the UoL should think equally on both sides of the matter, namely, the glorious opportunity of the students to bear a UoL ID and keeping the fee at a reasonable range.


  3. My perspective on identification cards is that they should be practically useful.What i mean by this is that it could be used as an official and valid proof of being a student in order to use it for example at any places this is required.Maybe you would like to buy software that student discounts apply and you need a proof of that.
    Or you need to attend a library, or any particular place that addresses any rights of being a student.
    On the other part i think that for many students the existence of such cards maybe works in order to make them feel a little more “less external” or in a way upgrading their status for getting something more like the rest “internal community” which maybe also build up self-confindence and motivation on what you are trying to do.
    These are a few thoughts i just came about reading this post.

    Kind regards.



  4. Hello, I am a second year student studying BSc Accounting and Finance. I think it would be great if external students have identity cards…it wouldn’t make any difference if we don’t…but still it would be great if we do.

    Thank you.


  5. I think a university card would be very useful from many things – from proving student status for professional organizations to discounted travel through STA (etc) and student discount cards like the ISIC. Personally, I would feel more like a legitimate student with an ID, similar to all students attending brick and mortar programs.

    The biggest question would concern the cost. Do you have any idea what the cost would be?

    Thank you. Kathi MSc Epidemiology


  6. This is an issue which would have been overdue, even if it had been dealt with fifteen years ago. A student ID card is your first, tangeable, sign that you really are a student and member of the school community, as well as legal proof of ID that may be necessary for research purposes. Those students who don’t have one are definitely missing something important and therefore at a disadvantage. If UoL is serious about regarding international programme students as equal to in-house students, then this shouldn’t even be an issue. Obviously, there is a discrepancy between words and actions.

    I have experience with distance learning with the University of Sheffield, prior to enrolling with the University of London. With Sheffield, a student ID card (identical to those issued to in-house students) was issued along with my first pack of study materials. I can recall at least one occasion when my card was essential for establishing my graduate student status for research in Japan. In a similar situation as a UoL student I have a problem if I can’t even prove who I am to librarians, bureaucrats and potential interview subjects.

    It is not enough to send books and disks to me. I need a card!


  7. I really hope the University follows through on this issue. There are a large number of universities in my area where I would be allowed privileges if I could show an ID card from another school. It would be very helpful for access to texts. As it stands I have very limited, on-site only, access to materials from those libraries.


  8. I think all students if should all receive student cards not only for identification purposes but for discounts as well. Many companies and institutions offer discounts on various things to students with valid student cards. But without one we cant benefit.


  9. Am a year one external student, although identically does not necessarily mean equality, but I think it has something to do with strong unity and many other benefits. I hope this process will add to the existing bond between students of the University of London.
    Best regards


  10. Everyone has raised valid points. One other small thing to add – I would like it very much if the lead colleges names were indicated on the card as well. A photo card would be great, some libraries I know only acknowledges photocards – you’ll just need to ask for it at the next registration. A logistical nightmare at your end no doubt, but one which would be greatly appreciated.


  11. On campus students of the university are provided with student cards. We are also students of the University of London, albeit through distance education. Why should we not be afforded this liberty? What is the reasoning behind such discrimination?

    I am not in any way raising hostilities on this issue. My only concern is that if students don’t make their voices heard nothing will get done regarding this matter and we’ll go on, as educational refugees, alienated and without any affiliations.


  12. I agree with Kip and Bradely, a student card would make it easier to go to local universities’ libraries to access the texts. Also it would make me feel that I am truly a student thus increasing my commitment to my studies. Having a student card DOES make a difference to me and my attitude.


  13. I think that student ID cards are really important to both, internal and external students. I would feel much better having and ID card.


  14. I also agree with most of the responses. A student card would definately legitimise my student status to those who need proof, which at the moment I just do not have. Thankyou very much for your efforts with this and here’s to success.


  15. A student ID card will afford me the opportunity to register with some other professional bodies at a student rate. Most of these professional bodies ask for proofs of being a student and the ID cards are best suited for this. Also, as mentioned in the thread of mails above, the ID card will further give one the feel of being part of the University of London family. This is a good initiative and I look forward to it. Thanks.


  16. I am not so sure if I will be able to use my Student Card for getting any discount where I live, but I think having a Student Card would give me a sense of belonging to the University of London and the whole community. I think for me the satisfaction is more of a psychological nature. So in brief I would love to have a Student Card. Hope the benefits outweigh the costs and we can have a Student Card!

    Thanks for all the hard work!
    Warm Regards,


  17. Thank you for this post Alex, and for your efforts representing the International Student body. As others noted things like access to resources and student resources in our local communities would be incredibly helpful; since we cannot share the student experience with other U of L students it would be helpful to socialize and meet local students.

    The most important issue from my perspective is scholarship. Online resources for research are very thin; there is limited access to high quality of research materials even using multiple internet resources. Easily obtaining a reading ticket to an academic library would be a real asset. An id card might make this process a bit easier.



  18. I am reproducing below a comment I posted on the VLE social forum back in April. The issue has been around for a long time, I hope it gains the necessary momentum to materialise soon.

    In my opinion, the benefits of a student card outweight the costs and risks of issuing them, because:

    – Currently there are cheap models of membership-type cards available;
    – They can be posted along with the subject guides, or the welcome letter, …
    – Best if it includes a photograph. It is unexpensive nowadays and it limits its potential fraudulent use considerably;
    – It can get you discounts to cultural events, computer stores (such as apple, Microsoft..), shops, etc. internationally;
    – It strengthens the sense of belonging.

    Best wishes,



  19. I could not agree more with the above responses of my fellow students. I put this question to debate on the VLE forum on 5 June 2010 and received 38 responses of support. I live in a university town, and although I am a registered student of a highly regarded academic program I am not allowed the privileges of a student to use the library as a student requires. I would like to go to the library and study at a carrel where I might have saved books reserved by me – not available to someone with “reader” status. I have at my disposal several libraries at Yale University, but I am not afforded the access I really need.

    I am truly hoping this is not tabled until the next registration process as the University surely already has the mechanism in place to produce ID cards. We would need to submit passport sized photos, presumably, and our student number, pay some sort of fee, and et viola!

    I admit this has become a sort of hobby horse for me, but I think it is important that we all feel the sense of community the University wishes our new appellation to inspire.




  20. I definitely think a student ID for the external students is important and should be issued to all of us. For all the perks that typically come with student IDs as listed in the many comments above (discounts, library access, etc.), I think it’s also important for it to be the same student ID that on-site students receive, because identifying us as external students on the ID card might lead others to think we aren’t qualified to receive all the benefits that on-site students do. I know where I live, when I mention I’m part of the external program, people tend to think I’m not really doing actual university coursework. It also would be nice to have a standard student ID should I ever find myself in London between now and graduation, so that I might be able to access the on-site things students there do during my stay.


  21. I absolutely think that a student card would be a great idea. There are clearly many beneficial reasons for having one, as outlined above. I wasz surprised that there wasn’t one issued in the first place!

    I hope to see such imoplementation made before I graduate!


  22. I went to the LSE library today to learn that not only am I not allowed to take books out, I also cannot even enter the Course Collection area! Most of the recommended reading for my courses is in this area! How does this make sense? I thought we were suupposed to be learning at the same level as students who attend classes! This is why I think student cards are important, so we can have the same access to these resources, as we should.


  23. first of all am very thankful to you for putting up an extreme issue of student ID cards. I am student of LLB as a international student. and i think that we are in need of ID cards.
    And think that it will effect up to some extant. and thanks once again…..


  24. Dear everyone,

    Thank you for expressing your views here in a collective manner on the blog. It is this kind of discussion open to the public and collectively that will bring better chance for change in this topic.

    I will be attending the next QASL next Friday, where we will be receiving an oral update from the Director of Student Services on how the Business Transformation Project on the discussions that have taken place on the card issue.

    To address some of the points raised, there is definitely two overriding issues that we are trying to deal with:
    1) Student card to facilitate a sense of community.
    2) Practical advantages of a student ID card in terms of discounts, access to facilities and offers.

    Kathi, you are not the first to draw parallels to the ISIC card, and perhaps even contracting the production of these ID cards to them would be a possible solution?

    Gregory, internal ID for students are issued by the college not the university!

    Paula, I think the issue of use of college resources is a separate. There is disparity amongst lead colleges for sure, but for those in EMFSS are not extended college membership privileges as some of the other lead colleges do. The dual International Programme and Lead College membership is completely up to the latter, there is not much the federal University can do themselves to make this happen. The lead college needs to be persuaded.

    I will take all of your points onto QASL, I endeavor to do my best for you guys and I will report back on the blog after the next meeting.




  25. I previously mentioned that external students could get a student card from the LSE and it was suggested that I might have been talking about the Library card. I have since found that I was infact talking about the UOL SU card. Extrenal members of the University of London are eligably for Assiate membership to the University Of London Studens Union.

    Please look into this when organising student cards for UOL International Programs Students.


    I still think the name change is silly and alienates non-international students.


  26. In fact, for the interest and need to have this card, I Googled ‘university of london Student Identity Card and it landed me here. It’s a good idea indeed!

    Even before I even registered to be a student of the UoL, UoL student Id Card had been going on in my head as a very important should-have card for me. I think it may be as well to uncountable students out there, including us the international students.

    This card is needed not only to feel a part of the university community, reduce public transport fares, be recognized in our respective nations as students where necessary and to enable us buy books and other materials and maintain our family expenses, register in our local libraries, etc. etc. I think it is also image mirror and prestige for both the university and the Id Card holders.

    Do not forget, thousands of students worldwide who had no time to access this ‘particular’ blog may be very grateful to unilondon if they get a mail or information that Students Id Card available. We may be charged fees as well turn as revenue to the university. PLEASE GIVE US FEEDBACK AS TO WHEN IT WILL BE ISSUED AND WE WILL BE RECEIVING IT.

    I suggest, it carries among other things, the Student Number, the Study Programme and the year admitted. The Year of Admission may stand as motivator ‘push’ to the student to read and leave the school terrain quicker.


    Thank you and more grease to your elbows.

    Chris Nwaorah


  27. Is the University issuing identity cards or registration cards in 2011? I am currently a student and I am curious to know if the University’s stance on this issue has changed. Thank you.


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