Magazine article University Business

Overcoming 5 Common Challenges in Issuing Student IDs: Strategies to Improve Security and Flexibility

Magazine article University Business

Overcoming 5 Common Challenges in Issuing Student IDs: Strategies to Improve Security and Flexibility

Article excerpt

A University Business Web Seminar Digest * Originally presented on October 18, 2016

Institutions of all sizes are facing increased scrutiny of their student ID systems in light of recent security concerns. At the same time, budgets are tight for many colleges and universities, creating a number of common challenges when it comes to the business processes involved with issuing student IDs and maintaining an ID system.

This web seminar outlined some best practices for overcoming the five most common challenges that institutions confront when issuing student IDs. An administrator from George Mason University shared how GMU has recently upgraded its Mason ID card to a more secure and flexible student ID system that meets the growing demands of its campus, while also providing improved security and privacy protections for students and staff.

Mike Mans:There are five common challenges when it comes to issuing student IDs:

1. Long wait times

2. Errors caused by both humans and technology

3. Productivity drains

4. Overall costs

5. Energy consumption and waste

Long wait lines are not only a customer service nightmare, they can also result in higher labor costs. Several factors contribute to long wait times, the biggest being spikes in usage. Registration is the most notorious, but you may also have sporting events or other special events that require issuing a lot of ID cards at once. Another contributor is waiting to take photos and gather information at the same time you're trying to issue the cards. A lack of workstations can also contribute to long wait times, as can slow or outdated equipment.

Traditional card systems can take a long time to print, and some lamination systems can take anywhere from two to five minutes to heat up, resulting in substantial down time, both at the beginning of the day or after a break, or even after several minutes of inactivity. Some equipment may require separate steps as well--one to print, another to encode the card, and yet maybe even a third to laminate the card, which can also slow the process down.

What can you do to overcome those issues? Many schools are asking students to submit photos online prior to registration to save time, and to enter their personal information via tablets or other device while waiting in line to get their badges. Another time-saver is to pre-print static portions of the card, such as your school logo and background. You can purchase your cards pre-printed, so then all you have to do on registration day is print the dynamic personal information, photos, name, student ID numbers, etc., and that can shave minutes off of the process for each card. You're speeding up the process and you're ensuring that every card looks exactly the same.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Having more workstations also helps reduce long lines. Today's newer technologies let you issue cards from multiple sites, both locally and remotely, using a common database over an Ethernet or Wi-Fi network. That mobility also makes it easy to issue cards in any building for special events.

To speed up the production process, you can use new card technology that can do everything--print, encode and laminate--all in a single pass. You may want to look for technology that starts fast as well. There are devices that are combination printers, encoders and laminators that are ready to print in seconds, even after a long pause. …

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