The off-campus vendor program of the College’s GetIt card system has been discontinued as of the Fall 2007 semester.
The 10-year-old program allowed students to make off-campus purchases with their GetIt cards at select locations.
The discontinuation came as a result of a campus-wide ID card software upgrade, according to Dionne Hallback, associate director of Student Accounts.
According to Hallback, the software upgrade affected all aspects of the College’s ID card system, including swipe access to buildings and parking, meal plans and general identification data, in addition to the off-campus vendor program.
Hallback explained “as a result of the upgrade, the card reader terminals that the vendors used for the GetIt purchases became obsolete.” She added that if a vendor wished to continue participation in the off-campus program, the vendor would have to purchase a new card terminal.
“This additional expense to the vendors was a major consideration when weighing the option to temporarily suspend the program,” she said.
The decision to discontinue the program did not come without careful consideration. A study was conducted in January 2007 to garner feedback from vendors and campus users, according to the Card Services Web site and Hallback.
The Web site also said more data was needed to make a decision for continuing the program.
“The responses provided some insight into students, faculty and staff perceptions about the program and usage of the program,” Hallback said. “The responses to the survey were helpful, but additional information was needed, such as the vendor’s perceptions of the program.
According to Hallback, vendors were invited to the campus to discuss the implications of the pending decision to discontinue. Vendors took the opportunity to express concerns.
“Some of the vendors’ comments were related to their concerns about a reduction in sales if the program was eliminated, their views on the increased use of debit and credit cards versus the use of the GetIt card and marketing and costs to operate the program,” Hallback said.
She added that information regarding management of vendor programs at other colleges and universities was needed.
Despite the program’s discontinuation, Hallback said that the vendor program was successful and enhanced the College’s relationship with participating vendors and Ewing Township.
Hallback said that “no definitive date” has been set for the program’s restoration. “We will continue to explore the program to decide how the GetIt program and other concepts will support a debit program that will allow (the College) community to make purchases both on and off campus,” she added.
The Card Services Web site said that a study of the program will continue, including “an assessment of all logistical aspects of the program, analysis of user satisfaction and needs, revenue data, market issues and long-term expectations of the program.”