FlashCards to replace Residence Hall keys


Jill Church, director of Residence Services, said the university plans to eliminate room keys by Fall 2019 and create a dual access system for students to access their residence halls.

Starting in Summer 2017, Kent State students will no longer rely on their room keys. Instead they will be using their FlashCards.

Jill Church, director of Residence Services, said the new lock system contains three main parts: FlashCards, keypads and a smartphone application.

“Students will be using their FlashCards as their key cards, but will also receive a pin to plug in to their door before they enter,” Church said. “The app will have Bluetooth capabilities, where students can connect their Bluetooth on their phone to the wireless system on the locks.”

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the measure during its Sept. 30 meeting, and the estimated cost to implement it will be $11.5 million.

Church said the updates are attributed to an outdated lock system and security concerns within residence halls. The current system requires students to have a FlashCard for a meal plan and a separate key to enter rooms.

“Some of (our current locks) are about 15 years old, and I think the newest ones are about 12 years old,” Church said. “When we put those in at Kent State, we were on the cutting-edge as far as technology at the time, but here we are 15 years later and they don’t have a lot of life left.”

Students will need to enter a unique pin assigned to their door, as well as swipe their FlashCard for dual-access security to eliminate concerns. 

“If students lose their FlashCard, the pin can be used to gain access to the room, which only the student and nobody else should have,” Church said. “They can also just use the app if they happen to forget the pin.”

Residence Services must be notified about a lost FlashCard to allow a student to access the room with only their pin. 

Dillon Coventry, a sophomore aeronautics major, said he is excited to see the change.

“It’s a struggle to often remember both cards,” Coventry said. “It will make life much simpler with just one.”

It costs students $25 to replace a lost FlashCard, according to the FlashCard Office. Church said adding room access to the cards will not increase the replacement fee.

Church said implementing the system is a gradual process spanning the course of three years. Residence Services will install the system in one of four area desks per year.

The New Front area desk will be the first to experience the change, including Dunbar, Verder, Engleman and Prentice Halls.

Residence Services plans to expand the system to all 25 residence halls on campus by Fall 2019, Church said.

Contact Lydia Taylor at [email protected] and Rachel Stevenson at [email protected]