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04.05.02 – Cougar Cards

Section: Procurement

Area: Auxiliary Services/University Services

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This document establishes guidelines for the issuance and use of the University of Houston's campus access card, the Cougar Card. This policy applies to university students, faculty, staff and individuals classified as Person of Interest (POI).


The Cougar Card is required for all active members of the University of Houston community. A Cougar Card is obtained through the Cougar Card Office after a photo, along with a government-issued identification to verify identity, has been uploaded in the Cougar Card Connect portal in AccessUH. Once a photo has been reviewed and approved, an appointment must be scheduled via CougarQ in AccessUH to pick up a Cougar Card. Alternatively, campus community members can join the virtual line for same-day service via CougarQ.

The Cougar Card Office recognizes that faculty, staff, and students may use names other than their legal names to refer to themselves. The use of a preferred name is supported by the University's systems, including the campus card management system. It should be noted that a preferred name is not official identification.


Use and acceptance of the card indicates agreement to the terms and conditions that govern its use. These terms and conditions are:

A. The Cougar Card is a means of access for cardholders to all privileges associated with their classification.

B. Rights and privileges accessed through the card are non-transferable.

C. Rights and privileges associated with the card are contingent upon active status as a student, faculty, staff person, or individuals classified as Person of Interest (POI).

D. The card must be secured at all times and presented to a university official upon legal request.

E. Photo images and electronic signatures captured for the identification card become part of the cardholder's educational or personnel record and therefore may be used for official university business but does not constitute official identification for legal purposes.

F. The university will disclose information to third parties only as required by law, or with the cardholder's written permission.

G. The cardholder will have responsibility for reporting and replacing lost, stolen or damaged cards in a timely fashion.

H. Students under 17 years of age will be issued a card only with parental/guardian signature.


A. Campus Card System: A campus card system in which a wide range of services are available and accessible to cardholders via a single ID card. These services may include ID verification, meal plans, flexible spending accounts, library access, facility access, event access/ticketing, vending, copiers, attendance, philanthropic donations and more.

B. Preferred Name: A preferred name is defined as an alternative to the individual's legal name as designated by the individuals in university systems.

C. Legal Name: A person's legal name is the name they use for official governmental documents, such as licenses, passports, and tax forms.

D. Primary Name: A person's legal name.


A. Many members of the University of Houston community use a first and last name that differ from their legal first and last name. Allowable name formats include (but are not limited to):

1. A shortened derivative of a name (e.g. "Sue" for "Susan");

2. A middle name instead of a first name;

3. First and middle initials (e.g. "A.J." for "Andrew John");

4. An anglicized name (e.g. "Peter" instead of "Xingyu");

5. A name that better represents the individual's gender identity; and/or

6. A name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing.

B. The Cougar Card office will not accept a preferred name that is vulgar, offensive, obscene or fanciful, or creates confusion of the individual with another person. The use of a preferred name cannot be used for the purpose of misrepresentation and does not constitute legal identification.


A. Faculty, staff, and students who wish to use preferred names are required to update their profile within the PASS or MyUH systems. Faculty and staff are required to update their preferred names through the AccessUH, via the PASS system. The preferred name option is listed under the Employee Self Service/My Personal Info. Students are required to update their preferred name through AccessUH, via MyUH. The preferred name option is listed under Personal Information.

1. There is no replacement fee for cards that are outdated or have incorrect names or classification. The incorrect card must be returned to the Cougar Card Office in exchange for the new card being issued.

2. Visit the Cougar Card website for a full list of all services fees.

B. Please note that only the First and Last name fields noted with an asterisk will be printed on the Cougar Card. If a preferred name is not entered, the primary names will be printed on the Cougar Card.

C. A person's preferred name will be printed on their Cougar Card. Persons who are issued cards with a preferred name that is different from their legal names should be cautioned that such cards are issued for the purpose of university business only, and that Cougar Cards issued by the University of Houston are not considered government issued identification.

D. Faculty, staff, and students should carry a driver's license or other legal identification at all times.

E. The primary name will remain in effect on all legal documentation including, but not limited to, financial aid forms, tax forms, university transcripts, and health records.

VII. Digital Cougar Card

A. A Digital Cougar Card is a digital representation of the Cougar Card that is available in the UH Go app .

B. The Digital Cougar Card can be used to access parking garages and gated lots, and for meal plan, Cougar Cash and ShastaBUCKS transactions. Visit the Cougar Card website for a full list of locations that accept the Digital Cougar Card.

C. The Cougar Card terms and conditions also apply to the Digital Cougar Card.


A. University departments, programs, or services requesting to utilize Cougar Cards or Cougar Card data for operational purposes must conform to the Cougar Card Terms & Conditions.

B. All requests to integrate Cougar Card technology or data must have their proposed process vetted and approved by the Cougar Card Office and stakeholders of Cougar Card data, if applicable.

C. Memorandums of understanding will be established and signed before any integration begins.

D. University departments or programs accepting the Cougar Card can use Cougar Card brand standard signs to promote acceptance at their locations.


Cougar Card Connect enables university students, faculty, staff, and individuals classified as a Person of Interest (POI) to upload their photograph online and pick up their Cougar Card by scheduling an appointment or joining the virtual line for same-day service via CougarQ in AccessUH.

A. Cardholders can upload their photographs through AccessUH on the Cougar Card Connect portal hub.

B. Online requests are received by the Cougar Card Office. A confirmation receipt e-mail from the Cougar Card Office will be received by the online requester, indicating the photo has been successfully received. Once the photo has been reviewed, the online requester will receive further details. If the photo is approved, the Cougar Card can be picked up by scheduling an appointment or joining the virtual line for same-day service via CougarQ in AccessUH. If the photo is denied, the online requester must resubmit an acceptable photo for approval.


Visit the Cougar Card web site for a full list of service fees for replacement cards.

Replacement Cougar Cards are issued to active university students, faculty, staff, and individuals classified as Person of Interest (POI). A Cougar Card can be replaced if lost, stolen, damaged/worn, or name/classification change. Replacement cards are issued after verification that personal information from PeopleSoft matches personal information in the Cougar Card System. Additionally, replacement cards are issued with a new card number and the previous card number is deactivated. A Cougar Card can be reported online in Cougar Card Connect or the UH Go app as lost or stolen to immediately deactivate the card. All physical cards replaced must be done in person.

A. Lost/Stolen Cards: These are cards that cannot be recovered. If a photo image is not in the Cougar Card System, cardholder must present some other form of government identification (picture ID) to replace the lost or stolen card. 

B. Nonfunctioning/Worn Cards: These are cards that are defective or are nonfunctioning due to normal wear and tear and need to be replaced. There is no replacement fee for nonfunctioning or worn cards due to normal wear and tear, provided the nonfunctioning or worn cards are returned to the Cougar Card Office in exchange for the replacement card.

C. Outdated/Incorrect Cards: Cards that are outdated or have incorrect names or classification. Cardholder's name and classification must be updated in PeopleSoft and the Card System before a replacement card is issued. There is no replacement fee if the card is outdated or has an incorrect name or classification, provided the outdated or incorrect card is returned to the Cougar Card Office in exchange for the replacement card.


Notice of lost/stolen cards or of unauthorized card use should be reported immediately through the Cougar Card Connect portal in AccessUH.

A. If a replacement card is needed outside of Cougar Card regular business hours, a temporary card is available at the UH Police Department.

B. Until the card is reported lost or stolen, the cardholder may be held responsible for transactions made with the card. If it is discovered that unauthorized purchases were made, a report should be made with the UH Police Department. For more information on requirements, visit the Cougar Card Web Site .

C. In the instance where there is no image on file, the cardholder is required to present valid government-issued identification when requesting a replacement card.


Visit the Cougar Card web site for cardholder financial liability for lost or stolen cards and unauthorized use.

The Cougar Card value is refundable under the following conditions:

A. Damaged cards: Immediate transfer of the remaining value from a damaged card to the new card will be made at the time of re-issuance. Damaged cards must be relinquished to the Cougar Card Office.

B. Lost or stolen cards: Remaining balances from lost or stolen cards will be transferred immediately to the new card at the time of re-issuance.

C. Closed accounts (flex accounts only): Individuals may request to close their flex account at any time. Cash withdrawals are not permitted. Balances greater than $5.00 will be refunded in the form of an Automated Clearing House (ACH) or check. The cardholder must be set up as a vendor in the university's accounts payable system before an ACH or check can be issued. All requests must be made in the Cougar Card Office.


If a point-of-sale terminal is equipped to provide a receipt, upon request, a cardholder will receive a receipt at the time of the purchase. A cardholder may access their account history through Access UH Cougar Card Connect portal or may request an account history in person, or in writing, during normal business hours at the Cougar Card Office. Account history will not be shared over the phone.


A. If a cardholder believes there is a discrepancy with a transaction on an activity statement or receipt, or would like more information about a transaction listed on the activity report or receipt, the cardholder should immediately submit a written request for inquiry to the Cougar Card Office. The request must include the cardholder's name and PeopleSoft number; a description of the transaction in question and a thorough explanation of the alleged discrepancy; the date, time and location where the error occurred; the dollar amount of the transaction; and a phone number where the cardholder can be reached during the day.

B. The Cougar Card Office must receive inquiry requests from the cardholder no later than 60 days after an alleged discrepancy has appeared on the cardholder's activity report. The office will generally complete an investigation within 10 business days after the complaint is received. If an error is found, it will be promptly corrected. Should the investigation reveal that no error was made, the office will send a written explanation to the cardholder immediately following the completion of the investigation.


Cougar Card Web Site
Cougar Card Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Issued: 06/27/2001
Last Reviewed/Revised: 03/20/2024
Responsible Office(s): Administration