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Legalities of texting students

You want to text students. But you don’t want to break the law. (Orange may be the new black, but it’s still not your color.) Lucky for you, it’s fairly easy to stay in compliance.

Part of our job is working closely with our client institutions to help them answer a few key questions:

  • Can I legally text students? (Yes.)
  • Just because it’s legal, should you do it without a student’s permission? (It depends.)
  • How do I get their permission? (Let’s talk.)

The law of the land

The FCC updated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 2012. This update increased some restrictions related to sending texts to mobile phones. However, the regulations (still) do not apply to non-profits. As NACAC says, “non-profit colleges and universities should not be concerned about compliance with this law.”

Opt ins (& outs)

The generally accepted rule is that nonprofit organizations are not legally required to get explicit consent in order to text students.  For prospective students, especially at the "inquiry" stage we recommend obtaining some form of opt-in.  This can come from the Common App, or from an opt-in box on an inquiry card or website.

Legal vs. ethical

Just because it may be legal to text students without getting specific opt-in doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. A student’s phone is his or her personal space. Students don’t want spam. So regardless of the law, always remember: If a student feels that it's spam - then it's spam.

Protecting you from yourself

Cadence won’t even let you text a student who opted out. Think of it as your get-out-of-jail-free card from your friends at Mongoose.

Learn from what we did with email

Without question, texting works. Does that mean you should jump right in, start texting students and encourage your colleagues to do the same? Not so fast! When you open up your entire campus to contact students whenever they want - you burn the medium (think of what happened with email).  Be very careful what offices and individuals you give access to text students.  With this medium more than ever - thoughtful governance is essential. We highly recommend consideration be given on how to best manage texting preferences in an enterprise environment, and download our free template: text messaging policy for your campus.

[FREE TEMPLATE]  Text Messaging Policy for Your Campus DOWNLOAD NOW

For Mongoose, this is a big win

Adding to a powerhouse staff, Mongoose has hired Jeff Meece as Vice President, Strategy. With more than 23 years of enrollment management experience, most recently as the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Columbia College Chicago. He specializes in helping institutions be strategic with their communications. Along with his new role with Mongoose, Jeff will continue as an associate consultant with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, an industry leader in enrollment management, student success, and fundraising management.

“I think I would benefit more if a school took an interest in who I am today, rather than who I was when I was 20.”

A great conversation on advancement with Dr. Jay Dillon, founder of Alumni Identity. Jay talks with Mike about how institutions should change the way they think about and view alums and donors, and how that strategy has led to better results for USF and UCLA. (Plus, hear the best email subject line he’s ever used – 23% open rate!)

Cadence by Mongoose - Higher Ed's preferred texting platform
[FREE TEMPLATE]  Text Messaging Policy for Your Campus DOWNLOAD NOW