The Rocket Card is essential for every student at UT. It is their official identification card and provides both students and employees easy access to campus facilities while functioning as a form of payment both on and off campus.
The card can use up to three types of funds: financial aid, Rocket Dollars and Dining Dollars.
Off campus, students can use their Rocket Card at variety of places, including the 7-Eleven gas station on Bancroft and the Foodtown on Central Avenue.
The card is accepted at most places on campus, including all three residential dining halls and at many stops in the Student Union such as Subway, Pizza Hut Express, Magic Wok and Starbucks.
Phoenicia Cuisine, located on the fourth floor of the Student Union, is one popular restaurant that accepts the card.
“The Rocket Card has been a privilege to us for a very long time,” said Ed Barakat, co-owner and general manager of Phoenicia. “For many residents, they average maybe $200 or $300 per semester on dining dollars.”
Barakat estimated that about 20 percent of Phoenicia’s daily customers use their Rocket Cards there.
“It brings in more customers,” he said. “It patronizes the customer and makes us more accessible.”
However, the restaurant briefly stopped accepting Dining Dollars for the 2016-2017 school year.
“Being a vendor on campus and not being accessible is bad for business” said Barakat. “If they couldn’t spend their Dining Dollars here they would have to spend it somewhere else.”
After the relocation to the fourth floor, Barakat emphasized that Phoenicia Cuisine is back to accepting both Rocket Dollars and Dining Dollars.
“With the move up to the attic location and the new contract, it was reinstated,” he said. "Both Rocket Dollars and Dining Dollars will continue to be accepted here for the long term.”
Annual deposits for the Rocket Card have exceeded $1.2 million as the UT student population grows.
Vendors who accept the card generally report an increase in sales after the first year, according to UT Auxiliary Services.
The UT Office of Auxiliary Services manages the Rocket Card. Using the online interface, students can track the cards in real-time, freeze the card and deposit money.