PennCard Policies & Practices

Your PennCard is used to access buildings and spaces, for campus payments, and identification. It is University property and should receive the same care as your housekeys, your credit card, and government-issued ID card.

Your use of the PennCard constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions of all applicable Cardholder Agreements and PennCard policies, which are listed on this page.

The issuance and ownership of the PennCard, as well as the terms for PennCash the pre-paid debit feature available on PennCards, are governed by Terms and Conditions.

When a new PennCard is issued, the cardholder must surrender their previous PennCard to the PennCard Center for secure destruction unless impossible due to circumstances (e.g. loss, theft).

A valid, US government issued photo I.D. or Passport will be required in order to pick up your first PennCard.

  • A valid Federal or U.S. state/territorial government-issued photo I.D. such as a driver’s license or photo ID card.
  • A valid passport.

No other documentation can be accepted other than those above. Unacceptable documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Reproductions or photographs of documents;
  • Expired or otherwise invalid documents;
  • International driving licenses;
  • Voting registration cards;
  • Visas or other immigration documents;
  • Photo identification from another educational institution.

A digital photograph is required for the issuance of a PennCard and will be retained by the University. This digital photograph is not considered directory information and may be disclosed only to the University officials with a legitimate educational or institutional interest, or to others consistent with the Confidentiality of Records Policy No: 201 and the Policy on Privacy in the Electronic Environment. 

To insure confidentiality, uniformity and accuracy of personnel information, it is the responsibility of the Division of Human Resources, Information Management and Records (HRIM Records) to handle all inquiries, other than subpoenas, which require reference to documentary records concerning past and present staff of the University. Responses to the subpoenas are handled by the Office of the General Counsel. Inquiries received by other offices should be referred to HRIM Records. All subpoenas and inquiries from lawyers should be referred to the Office of the General Counsel, pursuant to Policy 203.

Personnel records, including those established in connection with the selection process, are University property and are afforded confidential treatment at all times.

Individually identifiable personal information contained in computerized data bases, whether maintained centrally or by schools, departments or other units, is afforded the same confidential treatment that applies to written records.

All faculty, regular staff, and students will be issued a photo identification card (PennCard) while a member of the University community. The PennCard is the property of the University of Pennsylvania and is not transferable. It should be carried at all times and presented upon the request of any University official. Visit the Penn Human Resources website for policy details.

A temporary staff member who is not a student and who is expected to work more than two weeks may, at the request of the hiring department, obtain a special photo identification card. Temporary identification cards show the individual's name, photograph, Penn ID number, and the card's expiration date. Visit the Penn Human Resources website for policy details.

Various departments in the University accumulate information about members of its community, e.g., for purposes of payroll, employment or enrollment. Data are also created, though not necessarily compiled or retained on a personally identifiable basis, as an incident to the use of technology, e.g., the charging of purchases on the PennCard or the borrowing of library books. The University does not condone disclosure or release of such personal information stored or transmitted through University systems, except for legitimate University purposes as outlined in this policy.The complete policy can be found in the Penn Almanac.

The University reserves the right to close a PennCash Account when the Cardholder graduates or withdraws from the University (with respect to students), terminates employment (with respect to faculty/staff) or if the Cardholder's PennCard expires (with respect to all others). A Cardholder may also notify the PennCard Center in writing requesting that the Cardholder's PennCash Account be closed. Upon this notification, the University will issue a refund of the unused balance of Cardholder's PennCash account.

Refunds will be made:

  • By donating unused PennCash to the Penn Fund; and
  • By check to the Cardholder's last known address.

Cardholders requesting refunds should submit a request to the PennCard Center via or e-mail at Please note that the request should include the cardholder's name, PennCard number and mailing address.

Cardholders requesting to donate their unused PennCash to the Penn Fund should submit a request via the PennCash website or contact the PennCard Center via e-mail at Please note that the request should include the cardholder's name, PennCard number and mailing address.

The policy on the privacy of student records is provided in the Penn Almanac.

Details on the University's privacy policy can be found on the Penn website.