Student success: these words are everywhere. As public scrutiny over the cost of higher education grows louder, colleges and universities are doing more than ever before to show how they help students succeed academically, engage socially, and receive an outstanding college experience.
Auxiliary services are not immune from this pressure. That’s why more and more universities are using campus card and commerce solutions to roll out new student services without adding administrative overhead.
Serve Your Students Anywhere, Anytime
College life doesn’t run on normal business hours. Students need 24/7 access to services from anywhere—and that includes every part of campus.
For example, the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation (Pomona, California) recently noted that certain areas of campus were being underserved from a dining perspective and decided to introduce a food truck to address the demand. The Poly Trolley is fully mobile and accepts credit card payment. Cashiers can take orders from customers waiting in line using a mobile POS tablet. Orders are immediately sent to kitchen display screens so chefs can begin preparing the food before customers even reach the window, drastically expediting service. Customers are then able to pick up food and pay once they reach the window.
Students have enthusiastically embraced the Poly Trolley. It even won the NACUFS 2014 Loyal E. Horton Gold Award for retail sales/single concept in the “large school” category, beating out many other big names in campus dining.
Happier Students and a Stronger Bottom Line
Many auxiliary departments are expected to drive revenue and support their own operations—perhaps even contribute revenue to the university every year. Campus card programs are powerful ways to increase sales while delivering a valuable student service. Card-based vending is just one example of how.
Take the case of Plymouth State University (Plymouth, New Hampshire). In the semester after implementing online vending, Plymouth State’s food and beverage vending sales increased 93 percent. At the same time, the university opened up the FlexCash account for use at laundry machines. This, combined with the other changes to the program, drove an increase of 40 percent in deposits to campus card accounts over the previous year.
More Services; Less System Maintenance
Maybe your IT department can’t support another server and software system. Or maybe your IT department charges you for system maintenance, and you don’t have the budget to add more. In either case, a hosted solution may be for you.
Barton County Community College (Barton, Kansas) wanted to simplify meal plan tracking but didn’t have resources for additional system maintenance. With a hosted campus card solution, Barton now has online, real-time access to all the data it needs from any Internet-ready device.
“There are definite benefits to a hosted solution,” said Mark Dean, Barton County Community College’s Dean of Administration. “We don’t have to care for servers or keep up with frequent upgrades. And a hosted package gives us the option to extend services to other colleges within our system if we decide to go that route in the future.”
Improve Student Success by Keeping Your Focus on Your Students
Of course, the most important way in which a campus card system impacts student success is by bringing together the many services you offer and automating processes to reduce your workload. All this to keep your focus where it matters most—on your students.