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NACCU Blog: Ending campus cash not the end of the world for Texas Tech

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jan 13, 2023  ||   , ,

In a recent entry to NACCU's Positive IDentity Blog, Texas Tech's Joann Wright details the end of the university's campus cash program, and why the move made sense. A long-time staple for the Texas Tech card office, the RaiderCash program began to see a downturn in use and Wright saw a need for change.

As with many campus cash programs, Texas Tech's RaiderCash program offered a convenient solution to make purchases on campus. That included laundry, buying snacks, purchasing textbooks, and more.

"[RaiderCash] offered our community a way to purchase services and sundries when they had no other means of payment, as well as generate some income from allowing other offices around campus to accept RaiderCash as a form of payment," writes Wright.

But an emerging trend at Texas Tech saw fewer locations on campus accepting RaiderCash. Further diluting RaiderCash usage was campus laundry being absorbed into housing fees and dining services switching to a one-card platform that no longer accepted RaiderCash.

By the time RaiderCash closed up shop, the two remaining on-campus outlets for the campus cash program were WEPA printers and Coca-Cola vending machines.

Wright recalls being shocked by the suggestion of eliminating RaiderCash. "We had to have this! It served the students, we’ve had it forever, and I most definitely did not want a key program to die on my watch!"

It was after assessing the cost of the campus cash program, however, that the decision began to take on new meaning. Wright points to a trend that campuses across the country know well: most students arrive to campus banked, with their own debit/credit cards already in hand.

"We just didn’t see the program fulfilling its original purpose, and we concluded that the cost to maintain the program outweighed it’s benefits to the university," she writes.

In just under two months, Wright and the card office team took the steps to close the RaiderCash program. And it was a busy two months.

"In this time frame, we contacted our few campus partners still accepting RaiderCash to inform them of the deadline for when cardholders would no longer be able to use it," says Wright. "We posted signs on our Library’s ValuePort deposit machines and our website where patrons used GET to make deposits letting them know of the upcoming changes."

The trend seen with RaiderCash at Texas Tech is hardly unique, and Wright offers her valuable lessons learned from the process of ending the campus cash program:

  • "Do a deep dive into the cost effectiveness of your program. We were only receiving about 5% in revenue to cover all our costs to maintain the program.
  • Maintain a running list of all your campus partners and email addresses. We needed to notify those accepting RaiderCash that we were eliminating the program. Having this list made for quick emails.
  • Talk to colleagues on campus who use your campus cash program, as well as those who don't. I appreciated their perspectives, and it allowed me to work out the questions and issues I was considering."

Looking back, Wright has promising takeaways from the experience.

"Eliminating our campus cash program has freed up time and resources to pursue new opportunities," she writes. "So don’t worry! If this move is something you are considering, I hope you know the world won’t end for you or your cardholders."

Joann Wright's full "We discontinued our campus cash program, and the world didn’t end" blog entry can be found on NACCU.org.

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