Text Messaging Policy
The College utilizes a number of methods to share information with the community, including the Portal, external website, emails and printed materials. Text messaging is intended to supplement the College’s communications strategy, and this policy is provided to ensure compliance with applicable statutory regulations, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and rulings from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The purpose of this policy is to ensure adherence to the applicable regulations and ensure that the types of messages being sent and the students’ rights to privacy are respected.
This policy applies to all employees who will be sending out non-emergency text messages to students.
Text messaging can be used by authorized college officials to relay information about cancellations, closures, admissions and academic requirements or deadlines, registration information, financial aid, and other matters that are time sensitive and necessary for student success and safety. To satisfy statutory requirements, there needs to be an evaluation of the type of message, emergency versus non-emergency and limits placed on the departments that are eligible to send out text messages. The College will maintain two separate systems, one to communicate during emergencies messages and the other for non-emergency situations. Members of the departments with access to send messages are responsible to ensure compliance with the following:
- In accordance with the provisions of the TCPA statute, The College reserves the right to utilize contact information that has been provided to opt-in students to the system that is designed solely for the purpose of transmitting emergency notifications.
- Students must opt-in to receive specific non-emergency text messages from departments and ensure their contact information held by the College is current.
- Authorized text messaging officials must abide by all other policies regarding content,
as well as ensure the following:
- Content is accurate.
- Wording is appropriate.
- Information within the message is directly related to the student and/or their studies.
- Message clearly states the action that the student needs to take or how the information impacts the student and who to contact for additional information.
- Number of messages received by a student should be appropriate to ensure he/she
will continue to regard the text messages as important information.
- Messages are sent with adequate time for the action or activity.
- Text messaging should not be used as the sole means of communicating a message or announcement. The text message should be supplemented by some other means of communication, such as an email or paper notice, to ensure that all students, including those who have not opted-in, receive the message.
- Text messaging must NOT be used for the following:
- Communicating personal or confidential information.
- Sending general information to large populations (e.g., “Fall classes start Monday!”).
- Personal matters (e.g., items for sale, farewell messages).
- Appeals on behalf of individuals or groups of students (e.g., to attend social, cultural or sporting events, unless the student opted-in for text messages regarding these topics).
- Sending any messages containing social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers or any FERPA-protected data. These are strictly prohibited.
- All messages should be tagged with the appropriate identifier so recipients can
immediately recognize who it’s from. For example, if an authorized official is sending
an initial text message, open with, “Hi Becky, it’s Chris Smith from Admissions.” On all subsequent communications, authorized officials can sign off at the end of text message:
“– Chris Smith, Admissions.”
- Students must have the ability to opt out of receiving text messages by replying with the word “STOP” or contacting the College directly. The College must keep a record of such requests and make every effort to cease the transmission of any further text messages.