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Bringing the Campus Experience Into the Digital Age

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Making college campuses mobile-first and friendly to “digital natives” doesn’t have to be difficult.

On average, today’s college students received their first smartphone before their 12th birthday. These “digital natives” expect to be able to navigate every aspect of campus life using their smartphones — and if they can’t do something from their phone, they simply won’t bother.

That presents a challenge for many college campuses, which haven’t always been on the leading edge of technology — illustrated by the fact only 5% of college budgets are dedicated to IT spending. Many academic institutions assume creating a mobile-first experience for incoming students will be complex and costly, but with the right technology and approach, it is possible.


The global pandemic proved colleges are capable of rapid and effective adoption of new technological platforms, as many of them were forced to move the entire educational experience online in a very short period of time.

Something similar can be achieved when it comes to a mobile-first approach to campus life. Taking a phased approach to manage cost and utilizing digital platforms like Near Field Communication (NFC), can ease the transition to give students access to essential campus systems via their smartphones.

For example, the 360u App from TouchNet, a payments and ID management solutions provider owned by Global Payments, combines secure building access functions, class registration and attendance, and student financial services into a single sign-on app on students’ Apple or Android phones. Student IDs can be added to digital wallets, allowing them to simply tap their phone any time they would traditionally produce a physical ID.

The platform is flexible; students without access to a mobile device can be issued plastic cards with embedded NFT chips if necessary. Best of all, the platform works with a wide variety of existing door access and digital payment hardware, making the investment required to make a campus mobile-first much more attainable.

A mobile-first college campus isn’t the future — today’s college students expect it. The time to give it to them is now. Are you ready to go mobile?

See all 360u has to offer at

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