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Gen Z students are on the hunt for streamlined processes and instant gratification – and colleges and universities are turning to mobile experiences to deliver. While students enjoy easy, fast experiences from retailers and social media, they are increasingly expecting the same from higher ed. 

Higher ed leaders are starting to pay attention. Many are increasing the focus on providing mobile experiences. This includes everything from mobile payments, mobile student IDs, mobile meal ordering, and more.  

These “digital natives” grew up on their phones and they account for nearly 40% of mobile users. Yet higher ed has been a little slow to meet these students where they’re at. To best serve this generation, colleges and universities should explore the breadth of mobile opportunities that exist to deepen relationships with these students. 

Mobile Experiences Offer Speed & Convenience

Younger generations are in search of instant gratification. From ordering food to paying tuition online, students want ease and speed. Colleges can meet this need by finding new ways to provide tech-enabled experiences, especially mobile experiences. 

Mobile uses cases are growing for colleges and universities. According to a TouchNet and Industry Dive survey of 150 higher education leaders, mobile capabilities are expanding. Of the surveyed institutions, many are leveraging mobile ID management to offer a variety of streamlined contactless experiences: 

  • 83% offer mobile access to campus IDs and 68% offer self-serve ID setup/updates
  • 80% provide virtual class attendance and 71% enable virtual class communication and grades
  • 77% provide mobile vaccination status tracking
  • 69% enable the ability to access account balance and payments via mobile and 65% offer automated refunds and account reconciliation 

Students are also able to enjoy streamlined dining, event, and rewards:

  • 68% offer contactless dining, 66% offer order-ahead options, and 65% have enabled virtual queueing
  • 63% and 59% offer mobile event ticket sales and merchandise sales respectively
  • 61% use mobile to send out sponsor messages and rewards

Technology is a Competitive Advantage

Covid upended the status quo for higher ed. As contactless technologies inundated every other industry, colleges and universities have been forced to make certain upgrades. But this has been beneficial; offering enhanced mobile experiences and contactless options have provided a compelling advantage in boosting enrollment according to 52% of survey respondents. What’s more, only 29% reported feeling like their school could remain competitive within the next three years without modern ID management technologies. 

Automation and remote access are baseline expectations in this day and age. Understandably, offering the most modern and upscale offerings may not be within reach for some institutions limited by budget. Still, schools can go far by aiming ot make the most of what they have. Enhancing ID management can be a fast and effective (not to mention budget-friendly) way to start evolving. 

Room to Grow

ID management poses several areas of opportunity for higher ed institutions. For one thing, it can allow schools to enable mobile payments, mobile dining options, and remote facility access without breaking the bank. Expanding mobile and virtual options like these for students goes a long way in enhancing satisfaction. 

It also enables the schools to become more connected and offer more integrated virtual experiences across campus. Offering seamless “one-click” experiences to a younger generation that lives by “right now” will be a critical part of universities’ long-term strategies to remain competitive in the changing landscape. 

If you’re looking for guidance on the best, most cost-effective ways to boost enrollment and profits, reach out to Arrow Payments today for a free consultation. 


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