Loyola University Chicago

CTA U-Pass


Frequently Asked Questions

Who Qualifies for the U-Pass (all semesters)?

Generally, undergraduate and graduate students in qualifying programs with enough qualifying credit hours qualify for the Loyola U-Pass. Quinlan School of Business Graduate Programs require 6 or more graduate business credit hours to qualify for the U-Pass. 

The following students are eligible to participate in the CTA U-Pass program:

All undergraduate students enrolled in 12 or more credit hours at both Loyola campuses (Lake Shore and Water Tower) in:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Quinlan School of Business
  • School of Communication
  • Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing
  • School of Education
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Continuing and Professional Studies (excluding programs structured as 8 week terms)
  • Institute of Environmental Sustainability
  • Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health

All undergraduate students enrolled in 3 or more credit hours at both Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses in Arrupe College of Loyola University of Chicago.

Graduate students enrolled in 8 or more graduate credit hours (or 6 credit hours or more per quarter) at the Lake Shore or Water Tower campus in:

  • School of Law
  • School of Social Work
  • Institute of Pastoral Studies
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Graduate School
  • Institute of Environmental Sustainability
  • School of Communication
  • Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health
  • Quinlan School of Business

All qualifying credit hours must appear in LOCUS as graded classes; departmental hours, pass/fail, or audited classes are NOT counted toward U-Pass qualification

Students who are part-time in one college and part-time in another cannot receive the U-Pass entitlement even if the combined hours make them full-time. So for example a Graduate School of Business/Law student with 3 credit hours in Business and 3 in Law would not be eligible for a U-Pass that semester.

The winter J-Term does not have the U-Pass benefit. The J-term does not count toward qualification in other terms.

The following programs are INELIGIBLE to participate in the CTA U-Pass program:

  • Any student enrolled in Loyola's Rome Center Campus or in any other programs located in foreign countries. 
  • Students enrolled in the Loyola University Medical Center, Educational Cohorts, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the EMBA program, and Social Work Carthage programs will not participate in the CTA U-Pass program.
  • Any graduate or professional studies students of Loyola who, regardless of number of credit hours, are enrolled exclusively in an online-only program and/or weekend only program of the School of Law, School of Education, School of Social Work, Graduate School, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, School of Communication, Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, or Quinlan School of Business.
  • Graduate and professional students enrolled in programs located at the Loyola University Medical Center Health Sciences Campuses. Social Work programs at Carthage College will also not participate in the U-Pass program.

*The U-Pass is offered  in the summer to certain undergraduate programs, Quinlan School of Business Graduate Programs, and Arrupe College. Starting Summer 2020, the Graduate School of Social Work will be included in the Summer U-Pass program. All students that register for summer courses of 1 credit hour or more will be automatically enrolled in Loyola’s Summer U-Pass program.  The SSW program will run from 5/27/20 through 8/10/20, and includes all students taking GSWK courses and students in the PhD program.  All eligible students will be assessed a mandatory summer U-Pass fee of $108 on their LOCUS account.

It is not offered to traditional graduate programs or the Law School at this time.

* Please note that changes in enrollment that drop a student to ineligible status may cause the U-Pass to be deactivated, depending on when the changes are made. Also note that if a student makes late changes that fall after the time that U-Pass eligibility can be updated, their U-Pass will not be active that semester.

Can I Opt-in or Opt out?

All students in an eligible program are charged for this benefit and are UNABLE to opt out. The decision is made at the school or program level to be part of the program. Individual students cannot opt out.

In many ways, this is like other charges at the university. Students may not use Halas Hall but still pay a for this as part of their tuition and fees.

Conversely, students may not individually opt-in to U-Pass. We encourage you to visit the Dean of your school/academic program for guidance. Since the U-Pass is not an optional program, ALL students in a qualifying academic program/school must pay for the pass. Individual schools/programs can choose, based on the need of their students, to participate in the program if they feel it would benefit the vast majority of their students.

The Summer U-Pass will not be activated for Summer 2020, except for students of Arrupe College.

Please be sure to check the Fall 2020 U-Pass FAQ page here: https://www.luc.edu/upass/aboutu-pass/fall2020u-passfaq/for up-to-date information on how U-Pass dates, fees, and waivers will work for the unique Fall 2020 semester. For Fall 2020, the CTA has allowed eligible Loyola students to withdraw from participation in the U-Pass program, if they wish to do so. The waiver request form must be completed by Friday, September 4th.

The waiver form can be found here: https://forms.luc.edu/upass


The below information will apply for every other semester: Fall 2020 is a unique circumstance.

No, all students in an eligible program are charged for this benefit and are unable to opt out. The decision is made at the school or program level to be part of the program. Individual students cannot opt out.

The only exceptions that can be made are for students with a military service pass or paratransit pass through the CTA. If you have either pass, email upass@luc.edu to find out about a waiver. 

Unfortunately no. We encourage you to visit the Dean of your school/academic program for guidance. Since the U-Pass is not an optional program, ALL students in a qualifying academic program/school must pay for the pass. Individual schools/programs can choose, based on the need of their students, to participate in the program if they feel it would benefit the vast majority of their students. 

You must be part of an eligible group or school to receive the U-Pass. All part-time students (under 12 credit hours as an undergraduate or under 8 as a graduate student) do not qualify for the U-Pass and will not be charged.

If a student drops to part-time status within or after the 10 day add/drop date (10 days from the start of the semester), their U-Pass will be turned off and the student will be credited the U-Pass fee.

If a student adds credit hours making them full-time within the add/drop date (10 days), they will be charged for the U-Pass and one will be made for them after the U-Pass team runs a report on that 10th day. If a student enrolls as full-time status during our U-Pass distribution week (first week of classes), they will be able to have a pass made while CTA is on-site. We encourage all students who change their academic status to visit us during one of our distribution sessions.

Your eligibility for U-Pass is based on when you are full-time or part-time; If you enroll by the drop / add date for a “W”, then you get the pass. If you add or drop courses after this date, then no U-pass will be issued.

The U-Pass fee is $155 per semester for Loyola Undergraduate and Graduate students, $176 for Law School students, $112.00 for Quinlan Graduate Business Program students, It is included in student tuition fees valid from the beginning of the semester until the last day of final exams each semester.  This fee is non-refundable.

The fee covers the charge by CTA for the pass and a small administrative fee.

Arrupe Collge students will not see a separate U-Pass fee. The cost of their  U-Pass is included as part of their Student Development/ Student Activities fee. 

No, CTA requires us to assess all students in programs that accept the program and are eligible. The eligibility is decided by the school or program. We encourage students to pick up the U-Pass.

The CTA requires the university to assess all eligible students in order for us to participate in this program. For a waiver due to disability, the disability must be documented and the CTA must be unable to accommodate the disability for a waiver to be granted. Please contact the U-Pass office directly at upass@luc.edu.

U-Passes are distributed at the beginning of each semester or quarter.  If you register and have your student ID picture taken early enough, normally three weeks before the start of the semester/quarter, then we will be able to have a pre-printed U-Pass available for you during distribution.

If you register or switch your schedule around after that internal deadline, please make sure to go to one of the U-Pass distribution sessions during the first week of the semester/quarter. If we show that you are eligible but a permanent card is not yet available, you may be provided with a 7-day pass to use until your permanent card is available. You will be notified when your permanent card is ready for pick-up.

U-Pass allows for unlimited use on all CTA trains and bus lines.  A student cannot reuse their pass for 10-15 minutes on the same bus or train.

No, the U-Pass is limited to exclusive use by the full-time student whose name and photo appear on the card. Any U-Pass presented by a person other than the student whose name and photo appears on it will be confiscated by CTA . Furthermore, the U-Pass will be deactivated and repeat offenders can be referred to Loyola University Chicago's Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

The U-Pass portion is only eligible on CTA buses and trains. Students may add their own funds touse the card as a normal transit card on PACE. The Ventra U-Pass does not work on Metra.

Replacement pass processing occurs at Loyola University Chicago at one of our customer service locations. Students need to bring valid identification, including their school ID, to the Damen Student Center (LSC) or Terry Student Center (WTC) Information Desk.

  • Only the person listed as the cardholder may order a replacement.
  • Must have $50.00 on your Campus Card/ Rambler Bucks account (cash not accepted)
  • Processed at the Damen Student Center Information Desk (Lake Shore Campus) or the Terry Student Center Information Desk (Water Tower Campus)
  • Staff verifies eligibility and deducts $50.00 from your Rambler Bucks account
  • Receive an email that your replacement has arrived, usually in 3-5 business days. Pick up your pass at the campus in which the replacement was ordered. 
  • For more information, see our detailed information about replacement passes.
  • Please note that our contract with the CTA currently does not allow us to give out 7-day passes for use while a student awaits their replacement pass, even in cases of stolen passes. Unfortunately the 7-day passes provided to us by the CTA are ONLY for new students awaiting a first-time U-Pass.
  • $50.00 fee cannot be waived, unless the student has a Damaged Pass waiver from Ventra. Please note that this is a Ventra fee, not a Loyola fee, and therefore Loyola cannot waive it: $50 is what Ventra charges Loyola to replace cards.


It is recommended that you take your Ventra U-Pass out of your wallet or holder when touching the Ventra reader.

If you leave it in your wallet/purse and you have a debit or credit card with a Wi-Fi symbol , then the Ventra reader may charge your debit/credit card for a fare instead of reading your U-Pass.

If you receive incorrect charges when you have an active U-Pass, please contact your bank or credit card company for their procedures on reversing incorrect CTA fares.

  • Check at a Ventra machine(located at most major El stops, including the Loyola stop) for a negative balance. If there is a negative balance, add money to bring the card to a $0.00 balance and the card should work.
  • If the card will not read at all at the Ventra machine there are two options:

a ) For a no cost replacement (damaged card): Go to Ventra Customer Service at 165 N. Jefferson Ave, Mon -Fri 8:00am-4:30pm. If Ventra determines the card is not reading, they will issue a 7-day transit pass and a Ventra Defective Card Replacement Form. Bring the form to the Terry Student Center or Damen Student Center Information Desk so they can order a replacement U-Pass free of charge.

b) To pay for a replacement: Go to the Terry Student Center or Damen Student Center Information Desk and order a replacement U-Pass for $50.00. Without the Ventra Defective Card Replacement form it is treated as just a lost or damaged card and the full replacement cost applies. Loyola does not have the authority to issue a free replacement U-Pass without the replacement form and does not have 7-day transit passes available.

As per Loyola University Chicago U-Pass policy, a U-Pass must be used by the person named and pictured on the pass; it cannot be transferred or sold at any time.

Violations of CTA policies (especially this one) are considered a form of fraud.  CTA and its representatives reserve the right to verify any assumed fraudulent activity. CTA will confiscate any improperly used cards and suspend that student from the U-Pass program for up to one year. Additionally, CTA does have the ability to press criminal charges.

CTA will contact students directly on any confiscations and their procedures. For more information regarding confiscations when/if they occur, please follow the instructions listed in the official confiscation letter issued by CTA. 


Please email upass@luc.edu with any questions or concerns about U-Pass.

You may also contact CTA at 1-888-Your CTA (1-888-968-7282) or email them at cta-upass@transitchicago.com

Keep your U-Pass for the entirety of your college career! The U-Pass portion of the card will be automatically reactivated at the beginning of any semester you are eligible and deactivated at the end of the semester: you can check dates here - https://www.luc.edu/upass/activation/dates/

The card can always be used as a regular full-fare Ventra card during any semester you are not eligible for a U-Pass.

When your card is close to expiration per the date on the back, Ventra will automatically send the U-Pass department a replacement and we'll email you when it's ready to be picked up.

Don't worry! The U-Pass card will expire at the END of the month specified: so if the expiration date is 2/2020, it will expire 2/29/2020, for example. Closer to when the pass expires, Ventra will automatically send our department a replacement for you at no cost to you. You will receive an email when it arrives and is ready to be picked up.