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cumberland copyStudents, faculty, and staff will soon be able to use their VolCards at participating Cumberland Avenue businesses, thanks to an agreement between the university and the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association.

Cumberland Avenue merchants will begin accepting the VolCard by summer, as soon as processing equipment is installed.

“Students have been asking for the flexibility of using their VolCard at Cumberland Avenue merchants for a long time,” said Chris Cimino, vice chancellor for finance and administration. “We’re pleased to have worked out the details so we can accommodate our students while also benefiting our neighboring merchants. These businesses provide students and campus visitors with great places to eat, study, and meet, and the merchants also employ many UT students.”

The VolCard also functions as a prepaid debit card. Students, faculty, and staff can add money to the card, and students also will be able to transfer unused funds from their campus flex meal plan to their VolCard at the end of each semester.

“We believe this is a positive move on the part of the university,” said Mike Clark, owner of the Goal Post Tavern and president of the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association. “As soon as the stores and restaurants on Cumberland Avenue can get the machines that process VolCards, we will be ready to start this new service for students. We believe this can be a tremendous boost for our merchants.”

The VolCard cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, or lottery tickets, but students will be able to use the card for most other transactions at Cumberland Avenue restaurants and businesses.

Restaurant members of the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association include McDonald’s, Goal Post Tavern, Copper Cellar, Firehouse Subs and BurgerFi Knoxville. Businesses include Regions Bank, Graphic Creations, and Rocky Top Books. The association promotes the interests of its member businesses, acts as liaison to the city and community, and keeps the residents of Knoxville updated on events and promotions happening along Cumberland Avenue.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Mike Cohen (865-659-4750, )