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TouchNet: 89% of students say campus tech was better post COVID

Card system vendor, TouchNet, has recently released the results of its first annual Connecting the Dots survey, finding that participating students overwhelmingly believe that technology played a pivotal role in campus life post COVID.

With campuses across the country each in varying stages of digital transformation, all had to accelerate timelines to accommodate remote student services during the pandemic. The good news is that most college students are mobile natives who prefer the convenience and immediacy of digital experiences.

TouchNet conducted its the Connecting the Dots survey in the spring of 2020, attempting to gauge digital technology usage among U.S. college students. Participants were asked a variety of questions to determine what’s most important to them when it comes to payment technology, how they use it, which apps are useful, and their preferences for paying for activities, goods, and services on campus.

The survey looks comprehensively at technology usage across the full spectrum of campus payments and transactions. However, because the pandemic had already begun when the survey was conducted it also includes timely and valid responses to universities’ use of technology both inside and outside the classroom, as well as off campus.

The survey intentionally gathered the full range of student opinions, spanning traditional and non-traditional, full- and part-time, and those enrolled at two- and four-year institutions. The survey results offer a comprehensive snapshot of students’ perceptions of financial responsibility. It also documents how those preferences could change over the course of a student’s college career.

Overall, the survey provides data that TouchNet hopes can be used to inform decision making around the transition to safer, more contactless campuses that better meet student needs. Some of the key takeaways pertaining specifically to COVID-19 include:

  • University use of technology typically meets, if not exceeds, student expectations even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Most students say technological advancements have remained the same as before COVID-19, though 40% do feel their university has improved its use of technology.
  • 40% of students have used or plan to use mobile payment apps more often following the COVID-19 outbreak.

“One of the most encouraging takeaways from our first student survey is that 89% of students surveyed believe technology on their campus is as good or better post-COVID,” says Adam McDonald, TouchNet President. “There’s no doubt the pandemic sped up the shift toward contactless payments and credentials among the schools we work with, so knowing our efforts are playing a role in these positive student experiences is incredibly rewarding.”

Given the important insights gathered in its first year and the ongoing need for real-time feedback, TouchNet plans to conduct its Connecting the Dots survey annually. The full edition of the 2020 survey is available for free on the TouchNet website.

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