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Cloud-based campus card system helps college keep students focused on success

TouchNet OneCard VIP unifies permissions and payments while providing SUNY-Old Westbury with actionable data
University Business, July 2018

Administrators, faculty and staff at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury are committed to the success of every one of their nearly 5,000 students. So when the sprawling Long Island school started looking for a new campus card system a few years ago, all roads led to TouchNet OneCard VIP.

“OneCard VIP gives us the ability to analyze all types of data we’ve never had before,” says Carol Kaunitz, executive director, Auxiliary Service Corp., at SUNY-Old Westbury. “We can evaluate student behaviors and engagement and use this information to keep students on track and invested in their future.”

OneCard VIP was implemented at SUNY-Old Westbury in July 2017 and is currently used as a campus ID card as well as a vehicle to pay for services such as dining, vending, book vouchers, and even laundry. The check-in feature also allows Residential Life staff to see who hasn’t been swiping in for meals or who may be keeping odd hours. Staff can then check in with the student to ensure health and safety, Kaunitz says.

Top choice

OneCard VIP was selected by a committee of stakeholders who researched three solutions. “The decision was based on needing less IT support, the ability to grow in functionality as the college grows, and best overall value,” Kaunitz says. “Plus the college was successfully using TouchNet in the bursar’s office for billing and student account payments, so OneCard VIP was a natural extension.”

The OneCard VIP system is mobile, easy to install, cloud-based and fully integrated to the ERP system. Students can add funds to the card through a webpage or mobile device. Students can use OneCard to access buildings such as the fitness center. That check-in component will soon be expanded to the front gate and classrooms—providing another way to identify and help students who may be struggling.

“Maybe a student leaves campus and doesn’t return each night until 2 a.m. They’re missing their first class and starting to fail. We can use that information to help,” Kaunitz says. “It may be as simple as they have a job, but this insight gives our Student Success staff the opportunity to make suggestions, such as maybe they don’t take an 8 a.m. class.”

Controlled access

OneCard VIP promotes security by limiting access to residential buildings, and it generates countless reports, such as popular meal items or busy dining hall times that require additional staffing.

One of the biggest improvements, however, has benefited commuters, faculty and staff who can now purchase meal plans online, Kaunitz says. Before, they needed to visit the bursar to pay and then go to food services to activate the plan before using it. “It’s a one-stop shop now,” she says. “The card automatically accepts payments and is valid immediately. This is especially important because we’re on 600 acres, and it’s not easy to get off campus to eat.”

The university is also introducing a mobile app, which will allow students to use their smartphones to pay for services. Soon students will be able to use it for access and attendance.

“We’re also planning to add the alumni to the OneCard VIP system,” Kaunitz says. “That’s going to be very valuable to keep the alumni connected to our college.”

How have students responded to the new campus card? “They absolutely love it,” Kaunitz says. “They tell me ‘Thank you for thinking of us.’ I say ‘We want you to have everything you could possibly need to succeed.’”

For more information, visit touchnet.com