When students return borrowed items of equipment on time it means resource lending works so much more smoothly for all concerned. No one is inconvenienced by overdue items, and staff don’t need to spend valuable time tracking down late pieces of kit – a task that typically takes technicians 4 hours or more every week.
Equipment borrowing behavior is a popular topic every time we hold a connect2 user group. No two universities take exactly the same approach to encouraging students to get items back on time, and it’s always interesting to exchange ideas on what works best.
Fortunately, customizable tools in connect2 help implement borrowing rules to fit every institution’s policies. The tools, which involve the use of reminders, fines, and suspensions, go a long way to encouraging responsible borrowing behavior.
Here’s a quick rundown of how our customers use these methods (plus a few other tactics explored!) to secure prompt returns, as gathered at our user groups when this topic inevitably arises…
- Automated email reminders to return items can be set up in connect2, but their content is all important. For example, one customer words their emails very strongly, informing the student that the item will be ‘reported as stolen’ after 7 days. This tends to get the desired effect, with few emails being ignored
- If a student is more than two weeks late, they must explain their reasons to the Dean before they are permitted to borrow further items. After 28 days, one university invoices the student for a replacement. Both approaches have proved very effective!
- Suspensions are often applied until late items are returned. They are sometimes also used as a penalty, with no further borrowing for a set amount of time after the offense. Some threaten bans in proportion to how late an item is returned, so if 3 days late, there’s no further borrowing for the next 3 days
- Others institutions are more stringent, banning further loans from between a week to a month after any late return
- If a student claims that an item in their possession has been stolen, institutions often ask for a copy of the police report to ensure it’s a genuine reason for failing to return the item
- Around half of connect2 customers use fines which are thought by some to be fairer than suspensions, for example, some students need to borrow items less frequently than others and may not be so inconvenienced by a ban
- The automated reminders are often used to highlight to students what the fine rate is, e.g. $10 per day, to encourage students to act quickly. The most we’ve heard being racked up is $1700 by a single student although many institutions operate a cap on fines before they get this high
Every university that uses connect2 experiences better borrowing behavior and spends less time chasing late items. And it’s not just staff that like this aspect of using connect2. Over 70% of customers report that the student experience is substantially enhanced by the system’s communications and a greater awareness of the borrowing rules.
Whatever you do though, there will always be some students who flout the rules. Fortunately, with connect2 you won’t need to spend time working out what’s late, and who needs to return it. All the information is there in a handy dashboard.
Firstly, connect2’s automated series of emails are easy to set up and remind students that their return time is pending, due or passed. It’s a method that has been seen to be highly effective, with up to 90% fewer late items reported by our connect2 customers. Then there’s a handy way to administer a fines system in the software for each late booking or item, by either the hour or day. Finally, connect2 will enable you to suspend a student with late items from further borrowing.
Connect2 makes life easier for all involved in equipment lending and inventory management – want to find out what else it can do? Why not contact us with any questions or to arrange a no-obligation personalized demo today.
Call Danny Thomas on 646 583 2215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org