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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Passports obtained through an on-campus process

Photo by Creative Commons

Located in the Pavilion, the Passport Office is a convenient place for students to apply for or renew a passport.
The passport office within Education Abroad offers any U.S. citizen, not just Texas A&M students, the chance to apply for a passport and have their request processed. This office is one of three passport offices in Bryan-College Station.
Having a passport office on campus is a significant benefit because it makes the process convenient for students, faculty and others who are on campus daily, said Melanie Rogers, the passport office’s manager.
“With students’ schedules, it’s just very nice and easy for them to have something that’s close for them to come to,” Rogers said. “The process takes about 15 to 30 minutes if all the forms are filled out properly, and they can come by in between classes.”
The Education Abroad office has specific requirements for those applying for a passport. Applicants need proof of citizenship (a previous passport, copy of a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization) and proof of identity (a driver’s license or a passport photo, which can be taken on-site).
Along with this documentation, students have to submit the required DS-11 form as well as two payments – one that goes to the Department of State and one to A&M. Rogers said the extra payment to the university makes the passport office profitable. However, the fees they charge are in line with other vendors – and the Department of State’s charge is standard. For example, a regular order – a passport book for someone over the age of 16 with standard shipping and photos taken at the office – would cost $160, $110 of which is the government-mandated fee.
According to their internal statistics, the passport office processes around 3,000 applications a year, including 2,911 in 2019. The average has been steady at 3,000 since the 2012-13 school year when the county clerk’s office no longer processed passport applications.
The office was set up in April 2010 and is inspected every two years by the Department of State. Passport offices on public college campuses are a growing trend, with locations at the University of Houston, University of North Texas, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas, said Melissa Burns, administrative coordinator and passport agent. Passport offices can only be located in public entities; the other two locations in the area are in the main post offices of Bryan and College Station.
The application process, as described by Ali Funnell, a customer service associate who works mainly as a passport agent, is straightforward.
“Students can either go on our website or come into the office to understand what the requirements are,” Funnell said. “Once they’re ready to submit everything, they come into the office, we take the photos and process the paperwork.”
Agricultural communication and journalism junior Kaydee Free used the passport office in early 2019 before a study abroad trip to Namibia. Free found her experience to be very efficient and free of problems; she made an appointment and got everything done within 30 minutes.
“I’d never been out of the country before so I had no need for a passport,” Free said. “It was super convenient that Texas A&M offers a passport service. It made everything really easy.”

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