It’s no secret that today’s college experience is vastly different than it was just a generation ago. Now more than ever, today’s college student often has multiple commitments beyond academics. Extracurriculars, co-curriculars, social clubs and events, sports, and even social media each command a portion of their attention.
For first-generation college students, however, the volume of options can sometimes lead to overwhelm. Staying on track and progressing toward graduation can get lost amid the distractions of campus life. Student Support Services (SSS) supports these first-generation college students in reaching their collegiate goals. Keeping students connected with SSS can be a challenge, especially in the face of so many other options. Offering solid, useful incentives can help to keep them engaged with your program.
10 Great Incentives for Your SSS Program
Although most college students live on a shoestring budget, first-generation students’ budgets may be tighter than those of their peers. Their families may not be able to provide the kind of financial assistance or practical guidance that other students receive. Student Support Services can help to fill some of the gaps with incentives.
These 10 incentives can take the strain off student budgets and allow them to have some fun or give them a boost:
1. Meal Delivery
Campus dining options are great, but sometimes students don’t have the time or the energy to hit the food court. Give them the option to get food delivered, either from an on-campus eatery or a local restaurant. It’s likely your students are very familiar with services such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and more. For students who like to cook, another option is a meal kit that delivers fresh ingredients for them to make a homemade meal.
2. Movie Tickets
In a world where just about any movie is available for download, going to the movies can be a real treat. Work with a local movie theater to put together a movie night package that includes tickets, popcorn, candy, and drinks.
3. Netflix, Hulu, or Spotify Subscription
Binge-watching a show can be a great way to decompress amid the pressures of academic life. Music and podcast streaming services are also helpful when a student needs to tune out distractions. Gift cards for these services can give students an opportunity to enjoy music and shows without taxing their budget.
4. Uber or Lyft Credit
Sometimes students just want to get off campus for a little while. Getting a ride to or from an off-campus location can be tricky, especially if the destination isn’t along a public transportation route. Ride share services can enable students to travel safely to and from local events and parties. Both Uber and Lyft offer credits or gift cards.
5. Reusable Water Bottle/Coffee Tumbler
Staying hydrated is important, and many students carry water bottles. For early morning classes or late-night study sessions, coffee keeps scholars going. A branded reusable water bottle or coffee tumbler will appeal to students for its sustainability and provide passive promotion for your SSS program. You can also work with your campus coffee shop or local businesses to provide discounts for students who bring their container in for a fill-up.
6. Laundry Pass
Campus laundry facilities can leave a lot to be desired, particularly in a busy dorm with a limited number of available machines. You can work with a local laundromat to purchase prepaid laundry passes for their off-campus facility or check out laundry services that can come to your campus to pick up and deliver student laundry. Either way, fresh, clean clothes are always appreciated!
7. School Swag
A college sweatshirt is a wardrobe staple, and what better way to show school spirit than to show off some school swag? Sweatshirts, hoodies, and other gear can get kind of pricey, however! Enable the students in your program to earn school swag instead of spending their hard-earned cash.
8. Post-Grad Preparation Assistance
As the students in your program move toward completing their degree and begin to make plans, they’ll need a little help with next steps. Work with your school’s Career Services office to provide the tools they’ll need. For some students, that may mean preparing a great resume or getting professional headshots. For others, that may mean applying to graduate school. Professional guidance as well as discounts to pay for these needs will help your students to take the next steps with more confidence.
9. Preferred Parking Pass
It’s likely that there are some parking spaces around campus that appeal to students because of their proximity to certain buildings or dorms. No one likes having to hike from the outer reaches of a parking lot to their destination. While you may not be able to permanently reserve certain spaces, you can work with your school to establish a preferred parking zone for events or certain periods of time.
10. Subscription to NoodleTools
Regardless of major, a big part of college academics is researching and writing. The NoodleTools platform is designed to help students become better critical thinkers and enables them to produce better papers. For students considering grad school, this can be an enormous boost.
High-level incentives such as these are useful, unique, and can keep students engaged in your program. Such incentives might require a higher level of effort but should still be attainable.
To enable students to earn these incentives in a fair and honest manner, consider using a points system. Establish points values for different incentives and allow students to choose how to spend their points. Students can use their points to purchase smaller incentives or can opt to save their points for higher-value incentives.
However, awarding and tracking points can be a challenge if you’re trying to do it manually. That’s where TRiO Perks comes in! TRiO Perks allows you to award points to students in your program by scanning their student ID or selecting their name from a roster within the software. Points accumulate in each student’s account and are automatically deducted each time they use them to purchase an incentive. You can also assign points values to and track inventory of your incentives within the system. Everything is tracked digitally within the software – your students can use every single point they earn and know that their balance is accurate.
Intrigued? We’d love to show you how TRiO Perks can make it easier to recognize, encourage, and reward students in your SSS program. Request a demo!