CTA U-Pass (Chicago Only)

Returning students: changes were made to the CTA U-Pass for Fall 2013 as part of the CTA's switch to the Ventra fare system. Please read below for current U-Pass information.

The Office of Student Services is happy to offer the CTA U-Pass, a discounted transit pass, to all full-time students at the Chicago campus. The U-Pass will give you UNLIMITED rides aboard CTA buses and trains while school is in session: no cash needed, no transfer charges, no surcharges.

The Ventra Card

As part of the CTA’s partnership with Ventra, all students in the CTA U-Pass program will now receive a Ventra U-Pass card which will be good for up to 5 years. Unlike the previous fare cards, this card will not need to be replaced each term.

Your Ventra U-Pass card will offer unlimited rides on CTA buses and trains during each 15-week semester. You will also be able to add money to your Ventra U-Pass card to use it as a regular CTA farecard during breaks between terms. During its 5-year lifetime, your Ventra U-Pass card will remain usable at any institution you attend that participates in the CTA U-Pass program.


For new students and students who did not previously receive a U-Pass, U-Pass distribution takes place during the first week of school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 4th floor of 325 N Wells. After this initial distribution, you will not need to replace your card.

U-Pass Photos

Photos can be added any of the following ways:

  • New students will take student ID and CTA U-Pass photos on campus during New Student Orientation. Your U-Pass will be ordered that day and we will email you when it arrives.
  • The school also has the ability to upload files to the CTA U-Pass website. If you are unable to take a photo on campus, you will be able to email a photo to our office for upload.

U-Pass Fees

The 2014-15 U-Pass fees will be:

  • $112.50 per 15-week semester (fall, spring)
  • $68 per 8-week term (summer)
  • $5.00 card activation fee (one-time charge when your U-Pass card is issued)
  • $50.00 card replacement fee (this fee remains the same as in previous years)

You will see applicable charges applied to your student account at the time of card issuance.

U-Pass replacements will now be handled through the school, rather than the CTA. Beginning Fall 2013, please contact Student Affairs if your card has been lost, stolen, or damaged. We will assist you in obtaining a replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is my U-Pass active?

While your Ventra card can be used as a farecard year-round, the unlimited rides through the U-Pass program are only available during each 15-week academic term. You will need to pay full fare for rides on the CTA during breaks between semesters.

You can view the start and end dates of each term in the Academic Calendar.

Am I able to opt out of the U-Pass if I will not use it?

The CTA administers the U-Pass as an entitlement program for all full-time students at participating schools, with no ability for individuals to opt in or out. All individuals registered as a full-time student within their program will receive a U-Pass, regardless of their home address or the delivery method of courses. However, students at the Grayslake campus, and within the “executive-style” Business Consulting Track Psy.D., and Organizational Leadership Ph.D. programs will not receive, nor be charged for a U-Pass.

In addition, students who are placed outside Chicago on internship will not be charged for the CTA U-Pass.

What happens if I change my status from part-time to full-time or vice versa?

  • From full-time to part-time before the end of the Add/Drop deadline: Student's U-Pass will be deactivated before the end of the month.
  • From full-time to part-time after the Add/Drop deadline: Student's U-Pass will not be deactivated for the remainder of the semester.
  • From part-time to full-time after the Add/Drop deadline: Student will not be eligible for a U-Pass.

How do I replace my U-Pass if it is lost, damaged, or stolen?
Contact Student Services. We will order a replacement U-Pass for you, which will arrive at the school approximately 3-5 working days after the date of your order. There will be a $50 replacement fee for all lost, stolen, or damaged passes. You will receive notification when your replacement U-PASS arrives. 

What do I do if I receive a defective pass?

In the case of defective passes, the $50 fee will be waived if you first visit the Ventra Customer Service Center at 165 N Jefferson and obtain a notice the pass is defective. The school will then reorder your pass at no cost to you. Ventra Customer Service will issue you a 7-day courtesy pass to use until your new U-Pass arrives.

Your contact at The Chicago School is Emily Hilleren, Coordinator of Campus Life Programming: ehilleren@thechicagoschool.edu.

For more information, you can also visit the CTA U-PASS website.