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Got an email saying IU charged your dormant CrimsonCard? Here's why.


Some CrimsonCard holders received emails telling them they will be charged a $3 monthly fee if their account has been marked dormant, or unused in 18 months. Photo illustration by Emily Eckelbarger Buy Photos

Junior Bryan Schmidt woke up Jan. 2 to an email informing him the university would be taking money from his CrimsonCard account. The reason? He wasn’t spending money.

Some CrimsonCard holders received emails telling them they will be charged a $3 monthly fee if their account has been marked dormant, or unused, in 18 months. If the university didn’t close accounts, there would be thousands of accounts to manage, said Karen Warnsman, manager for CrimsonCard administration.

Warnsman said many students leave the university with funds still on their cards, never intending to come back and spend the remaining amount. Many students forget they made a deposit to the account, so the money sits there with nowhere to go.

“The dormant account fee exists to essentially clear out or close dead or inactive accounts,” Warnsman said.

An important distinction to note, Warnsman said, is CrimsonCard is different from a meal plan. Using your card to purchase food on campus and using meal points doesn’t remove a dormant status from an account.

If the account has less than $3 leftover on it, the fee wipes the money and the account is closed, Warnsman said.

Warnsman said there are multiple ways the to stop these charges: use the card, add funds to it, or wait for the balance to hit zero.

Another route to take is asking IU to refund the money currently left over. Warnsman said students can request a refund by filling out the Refund Request Form. There is a $15 processing fee to request a refund and close the account.

Schmidt said the card fees don’t make sense and they seem selfish. He doesn’t use his CrimsonCard because he has a personal debit card to pay for his school and anything he wants to buy.

“It’s only $3 a month, but it’s the principle of the thing,” Schmidt said. “Students are paying about $25,000 to $40,000 a year depending on where you’re coming from, so it’s a greedy move by the school.”

While he understands IU expects students to spend money on campus or use funds from their CrimsonCard, Schmidt said it’s still a troubling decision.

“It’s not a good look for the school,” he said.

Senior Brianna Cassidy said she was annoyed at the charges because she’s graduating soon and doesn’t use the card for purchases. 

“They’re basically forcing me to give more money,” Cassidy said.

Living in an apartment off campus doesn’t give her any reason to use her CrimsonCard, Cassidy said. She cooks her own food, doesn’t live in a dorm and sees little reason to put additional funds on it.

Charging students fees until an account reaches a zero balance is nothing new, Warnsman said. The university has been using fees to clear out accounts of past versions of campus cards.

Warnsman said a new feature is giving the students warning before any account deductions are made. Before, the money would be taken without student knowledge.

Students with dormant accounts are informed of a fee on the second and 20th day of each month, and the fee is taken out on the 27th.

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