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WSU CougarCard Center Pilot Biometric Enrollment Program

The CougarCard Center has launched a pilot biometric enrollment program in partnership with University Recreation. This voluntary program allows participants to securely and conveniently access WSU services such as the Student Recreation Center as they would with their CougarCard. The CougarCard Center biometric program will be testing access options that will only require users to scan their hand, fingers, or other biometric features if additional types of devices are tested.


  • The biometric program is a voluntary enrollment program for WSU students, faculty and staff.
  • Biometric readers allow users to access WSU services quickly and safely without their CougarCard.
  • Those wishing to participate can enroll at the the Chinook or the Student Recreation Center (SRC).

How does this process work?

During enrollment, staff will help you scan your fingerprints. The system will create a mathematical representation of the fingerprints, referred to as a “biometric profile.” This profile will be matched to your WSU ID number. This information is then stored in a dedicated biometric data database. Enrollment occurs at a specific station and requires staff assistance to verify identity and link the scanned fingerprints to that individual. This process should take less than 2 minutes.

When the individual later shows their fingers to the unattended biometric reader, their biometric features are compared to the user’s stored profile. If a match is made, the associated WSU ID number is sent to the CougarCard system, which processes the transaction as if the user had swiped a card and allows them access. 

Who can participate in the biometric enrollment program?

This program is open to WSU students, faculty and staff as well as Pullman Community Members who use the Student Recreation Center (SRC) or Chinook facilities.

Am I required to participate in the biometric enrollment program?

No, participation in this program is completely voluntary and optional.

How do I enroll in the biometric program?

Those wishing to participate in this program can stop by the Chinook or the Student Recreation Center during regular business hours.  Both facilities have the ability to enroll you.

Are you storing a picture of my fingerprints, iris or other images?           

No, the biometric profile data is a mathematical representation of the biometric feature that will be scanned and compared (e.g. fingerprints, iris, etc.), not a picture of it.  The biometric profiles cannot be reverse engineered to come up with an image of the biometric feature that was scanned. The information collected is only used to enable convenient and secure access to WSU services.

What is the risk if your system is compromised and someone gets copies of my biometric profile?         

The biometric profiles are only useful for comparing to your biometric feature and are not useful without your fingerprint or iris.  A copy of your fingerprints or iris cannot be recreated from the profile information.

What will WSU do with my biometric profile?

Biometric profiles will be held in a manner compliant with FERPA, state law, and University policies related to the protection and retention of non-directory student information.  Biometric profiles will not be transferred or sold to any third parties. 

How long will CougarCard Center keep my biometric profile?

Biometric data will be retained for the duration of your association with WSU, plus one year, and then destroyed.

Handprint getting scanned for Biometrics

Student using biometrics to access SRC