How can colleges best use texting with students?
- Colleges and universities can take advantage of texting students and parents, according to Mongoose Research, which notes that administrators should follow the same FERPA regulations for texting as they do for e-mails and phone conversations. While nonprofit organizations like schools are not legally required to get consent for texting, Mongoose advises schools offer some kind of opt-in.
- The research also shows students will begin ignoring texts from colleges if they are sent too often or are not helpful — the ones that are include reminders on deadlines and updates for admissions, promotional efforts.
- Mongoose also advises school leaders and administrators to limit the number of staff and departments that can send texts to students, as students typically only want texts from admissions, financial aid, student success and the Registrar's office.
New forms of outreach are increasing on campuses — which makes it even more critical that colleges come up with a uniform understanding of privacy guidelines and cyber security regulations when it comes to student communications. Analysis from the Mongoose Research shows the best approach college staff could take is to not treat the use of information sent via texting any differently, or less carefully, than they would through other types of media. It is advisable that schools conduct all cyber security measures for the student's own mobile device; Oral Roberts University Chief Information Officer Mike Mathews said in a recent Education Dive interview that private mobile service providers had fairly positive reputations for data protection, which helps alleviate some pressure on schools dealing with multiple devices for each individual student.
Concerns over using texting correctly mirror the challenges schools find in applying social media to their admissions and marketing approaches. For instance, data from Pew Research Center shows that Facebook use jumped in most age groups between June 2015 and Nov. 2016, with a particular notable increase among adults ages 50-64. However, there was a decline in use among those aged 18-29, though that had been by far the biggest number of users. And now, high school students are interested in Snapchat; University of Wisconsin-Green Bay actually notified hundreds of freshmen last year that they had been admitted to the school via the app. The example speaks to how important it is for schools to assist their marketing by offering resources to help them develop expertise in social media and understanding what apps are most attractive to high school students.
- Mongoose Research How to text students and parents without breaking privacy laws