Get Ready For Gen Z: The Future Of ID Issuance

Get Ready For Gen Z: The Future of ID Issuance

Campuses must prepare for the next generation of students

The next generation of students is making its way onto college campuses. As millennials trade in their caps and gowns for a spot in the workforce, Gen Z is shopping for dorm room essentials. When it comes to meeting the needs of these fresh faces, colleges and universities may need to look at new ways to upgrade their campus experience.

One of the biggest issues facing Gen Z today is the high cost of college tuition. Over the last decade, in-state tuition has increased by 65 percent while out-of-state prices have soared by 55 percent. These rising costs coupled with an aversion to debt have left many prospective students wondering which colleges are worth the investment. Nearly seven out of 10 high school students are concerned about taking out college loans.

While the high cost of college tuition is certainly a legitimate issue, it’s not one that most decision makers on campus can control. One thing they can do to calm the concerns of this tech-savvy generation is exceed their expectations when it comes to technology. After all, more than 90 percent of these students consider technology an important part of developing creativity and preparing for potential careers.

Although plenty of institutions have made an effort to enhance their educational tools and technologies through smartboards, digital textbooks and online courses, few have devoted similar attention toward the overall student experience—including the campus ID. A student’s campus ID is the central tool to deliver a great student experience through technology.

State-of-the-art, all-in-one ID cards can enable everything from access control, to campus payments and transportation. It can also exceed Gen Z expectations by catering to their desire for individualized experiences, while complimenting and even enhancing university branding initiatives. These innovations along with speeding up the issuance process, can help cultivate an experience that will win over incoming freshmen.


At its core, a campus ID card serves as a way to get around campus and provides access to campus buildings and services. With just a little bit of personalization, it can do so much more. Eager to celebrate their individuality, Gen Z students are often on the lookout for ways to showcase their interests and lifestyles. Campus ID cards offer an opportunity to do just that.

Pave the way for personalization by investing in card issuance software that can offer much more than a campus ID number and barcode. Providing extra options—such as a fraternity or sorority membership, sports team logo, or a specific school or academic program—can help personalize the student experience to reflect their unique interests and personality. These cards can also enhance overall university branding with crisp background images that accurately reflect the “high-tech” image that your university wants to convey. This can be accomplished through easy-to-use, drag-and-drop ID design and creation software combined with state-of-the-art printing technology that allows users to print high-resolution images on blank card stock.

Beyond images or backgrounds, give each ID a different look and feel with tactile impressions. This affordable technology creates a raised image on the card that enhances branding and fraud prevention while creating a unique and distinguishable card.


Gen Z students are all about multitasking. Consuming information on multiple screens from multiple sources is commonplace for this group, a major deviation from any generation that has preceded them. Thinking about this from an ID perspective, a simple ID card that’s only used for basic campus identification will not satisfy this cohort’s desire for a modern campus experience. The campus ID can do more of what your students have come to expect.

Imagine a one-card campus ID that can be used to pay for meals or snacks around campus, books, laundry, check out resources at the library, and provide access to dorms or labs. Additionally, it may be used for student discounts at local retailers and restaurants and serve as a transportation pass to get around town. This is the experience that students are yearning for, and your university can provide through the use of smart card technology.

ID card software with pre-build smart card templates and compatibility with multiple databases and printers featuring smart card encoders make this not only possible, but very easy to implement. This not only creates a great student experience, but also allows ID program administrators to streamline processes and integrate multiple systems around campus.


Given the limitless availability of information and entertainment that Gen Z students have grown accustomed to, it’s no wonder they don’t like to be kept waiting. Satisfy this generation’s need for speed by taking a server-based approach to ID cards.

If left untouched, ID card creation can turn into quite a time-consuming process. Student enrollment and orientation are key times for universities to make a great first impression on students that have grown up rating their experiences on everything from online shopping to their favorite restaurants. Dedicated workstations for enrollment, capturing photos and issuing ID cards can create long lines during student orientation. For a generation of students with notoriously low attention spans, this can put a damper on one of their first campus experiences.

Shorten the process with ID card software that is installed on the university server instead of individual workstations. Rather than making the trek toward an office or building that houses all of a campus’ ID issuance equipment, students can be enrolled at any connected workstation or mobile device around campus. Imagine university staff using tablets to issue campus IDs in the cafeteria, dorms and bookstores.

Printing locally can also help satisfy demand for instant gratification while batch printing in a main office where students can pick up IDs, welcome packets and more at the end of orientation can help move things along. Extensive wait times that previously stalled the student orientation experience could eventually give way to an efficient creation and pick-up process that creates a great student experience and reduces stress points for the card administration staff.

Looking to take things a step further? Try remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. Although putting together a fleet of ID card printers may seem like a simple solution, finding the time to manage all of those printers is often easier said than done. That’s where RMM software can make all the difference. By offering access to an entire fleet of printers from a single dashboard, RMM software ensures all relevant parties have the real-time visibility needed to keep things running smoothly. Firmware updates are implemented within minutes while certificates and keys for each printer may be revised just as quickly and conveniently. Since alerts tied to a printer’s supply levels and overall health are automatically generated, IT staff members won’t have to waste their time regularly checking each printer. This helps maximize printer uptime while streamlining overall processes for IT departments that are already stretched thin.

Much has been made of catering to millennials, but as this generation’s time in college comes to a close, another follows in its footsteps. Well aware of rising tuition costs, Gen Z students expect an experience that provides plenty of bang for their buck. Meet these demands while increasing efficiency by investing in the right tools and technologies. From offering personalization to creating a more seamless student experience, updated card issuance software and printers promise to boost the campus experience.

Offer Gen Z students the opportunity to showcase their personality through a wide range of ID card features, including unique logos, colors, fonts and backgrounds. This same software can also equip a campus ID card with multiple uses and cut down on the time it takes to obtain one. The result, you ask? A five-star student experience for the Gen Z student that reinforces the value of their investment in your campus.

This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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