U•Pass FAQs and Helpful Links
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is U•Pass®?
U•Pass® is a partnership between the George Washington University and Metro that enables eligible undergraduate and graduate students to obtain a U•Pass® personal SmarTrip® card for unlimited trips on Metrorail and Metrobus during the academic year.
- Why is U•Pass® beneficial to students?
Utilizing U•Pass® helps save you money when you ride Metrorail or Metrobus, can save you time with your commute by not having to drive, and helps take more cars off the road as we focus on sustainability and better air quality. Students can use their U•Pass® card for unlimited Metrobus and Metrorail trips only.
- Can U•Pass® be used for regional public transit options in addition to Metro and Metrobus like a traditional SmartTrip card can?
Metro seeks to expand service throughout the region, however, at this time U•Pass cannot be used on regional partner services including, but not limited to ART, CUE, DASH, D.C. Circulator, Fairfax Connector, Loudoun Commuter Bus, PRTC, Ride On, Ride on Express, The Bus and/or MTA.
Also, U•Pass® cannot be used on MetroAccess paratransit services, to pay for parking at any of the commuter lots or for stored value.
- Who is eligible to participate?
Undergraduate students enrolled in on-campus classes (eg: not study abroad or traditional online only programs) within the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Elliott School of International Affairs, GW’s Business School, Milken Institute School of Public Health and School of Engineering & Applied Science are included in this mandatory U•Pass public transit program. Eligible undergraduate students will automatically be assessed the subsidized mandatory student fee on their eBill each fall and spring enrolled.
The following full-time students must pre-pay a $100 non-refundable student transportation fee via their student account prior to picking up a U•Pass card:
Undergraduate students in the School of Nursing, College of Professional Studies and School of Medicine & Health Sciences enrolled in 12 or more credits/semester. Graduate, medical, doctoral and exchange students enrolled in 9 credits or more/semester. Law students in the JD and LLM programs enrolled in 9 credits or more/semester. If you are a graduate or professional student who has finished all of your class requirements and are in the process of completing your thesis, dissertation and/or lab research, you will need to work directly with your program director or advisor to apply for Full-Time Certification (pdf). If your program/school approves your request, you will be eligible to participate in U•Pass.
- I have a disability and use MetroAccess. Will I have to pay to use U•Pass®?
U•Pass® is not available to MetroAccess paratransit-eligible students.
MetroAccess paratransit-eligible students with conditional eligibility may already be issued a MetroAccess SmarTrip® ID card, which enables free rides on Metrobus and Metrorail. Additional information is available at wmata.com/MetroAccess.
- How much will this cost me?
The GW U•Pass® is a subsidized mandatory student fee. Metro charges GW $1 per day during the semester per enrolled student. Starting spring 2022, all eligible full-time students will pay a $100 mandatory student transportation fee for each fall and spring enrolled and GW will pay for the remainder of the program’s cost.
- When can I use U•Pass®?
Traditionally, the program begins on the first day of class and end on the last day of finals, however the exact dates of the program each semester will be announced prior to the start of each semester.
- Where do I go to get my U•Pass®?
In fall 2023, a new GW branded U•Pass card will need to be picked-up for the 2023-2024 academic year. Dates and times are listed above in the blue box.
Starting Monday, August 28 U•Pass cards are available for pick up at the GWorld office during normal business hours.
- How do I connect my U•Pass® to my phone apps?
If you have an iPhone 8 (or newer) and/or an Apple Watch Series 5 (or newer) running on the latest version of iOS; in just a few easy steps, you can now transfer your plastic U-Pass card to Apple Wallet. You can learn more about how to connect your UPass to Apple Wallet here.
- Can GW load U•Pass® onto my GWorld card like you do with dining dollars?
Unfortunately, Metro’s technology for its transit system is not compatible with GWorld, a separate physical card is required to use U•Pass®.
- I already have my own SmarTrip Card from Metro. Can I combine my personal SmarTrip Card with the GW U•Pass® card?
The GW U•Pass® card can only be used during the fall and spring semesters. If you want to ride Metro during winter break or during the summer months, you will need to use your own personal SmartTrip card. We encourage you to keep your personal SmarTrip card for use outside of the fall and spring semesters.
- I lost my GW U•Pass® card. How do I get a new one?
Please visit the GWorld Card Office during normal business hours to pick up a new card. Please note there will be a $20 fee associated with lost cards.
- My U•Pass card does not work. What should I do?
If you have a non-functioning U•Pass® card, please ask for assistance from the Metrorail station manager or Metrobus driver. If Metro is not able to determine why your card does not work, please email [email protected].
- Will this program really save me money in transportation costs?
Your cost savings will depend on how often you ride Metro during the academic year. As an example, a Metro trip three times a week to and from your fall semester internship on Capitol Hill would cost approximately $180 for the semester, netting you a cost savings just from trips related to your internship.
- Since this is a mandatory student fee, can I use my financial aid to pay?
Mandatory student fees are incorporated into a student’s total cost of attendance and will be factored in when calculating your financial aid package. When paying for tuition, room and board and fees, you will be able to use any financial aid you receive toward paying this student fee.