Northland Pioneer College uses text messaging (SMS/MMS) as an additional method of communication to supplement communications with students and the campus community. The majority of college messages are best communicated by the NPC public website www.npc.edu, MyNPC, regular email, digital signs and printed materials, such as flyers. This procedure applies only to all non-emergency mass texts sent via NPC’s official text messaging platform (OTMP) by any NPC college employee. Authorization to use NPC’s official non-emergency text messaging platform is provided only through the NPC Marketing Office.
SMS stands for Short Message Service, which is the formal name for text messaging. It's a way to send short, text-only messages from one phone to another. These messages are usually sent over a cellular data network. Standard text messages are limited to 160 characters per message, including spaces. Multimedia messaging service (MMS), allows smartphone users to send each other multimedia messages and is based on SMS. Standard MMS messages can support videos of up to 40 seconds, single images or slideshows, and audio clips.
NPC can and may partner with an external vendor who provides a texting platform that allows NPC employees to coordinate the sending of non-emergency student text messages that represent or discuss matters concerning the college and/or members of the college community.
Individual Texts – messages to single students or small groups of less than 20 students.
Group/Mass Texts – messages sent to all NPC students or groups of more than 20 students.
NPC’s official text messaging platform can be used by authorized college employee to relay information about admissions, academic requirements or deadlines, registration information, financial aid, events and other matters that are time sensitive and necessary for student academic success.
Each department who is approved by the NPC Marketing Office to send student text messages via NPC’s OTMP must appoint at least one authorized person who will be responsible for monitoring and approving text messaging requests on behalf of their department to ensure compliance with the following:
- Students must opt-in to receive non-emergency text messages from approved NPC departments/staff. OTMP users should ensure their student opt-in contact list is current. Exceptions to this rule are limited to the Records & Registration, Business Office and Financial Aid departments, which may auto opt-in individual students to send very specific information.
- Authorized NPC personnel who send text messages must abide by all other college policies regarding content, as well as ensure the following:
- The message is valid. Any text message sent on behalf of NPC must be directly related to student academic success.
- List of student recipients is correct for the subject of text.
- Messages are not repeated. NPC employees using the OTMP must ensure no other user has already sent the same message. Do not send repeat reminders.
- Messages clearly state the action that the student needs to take or how the information impacts the student and where to go or who to contact for additional information.
- Messages are sent with adequate time allowed for the action or activity.
- Message is SHORT, content is accurate, wording is appropriate and spelled correctly.
- Number of NPC messages received by a student should be appropriate to ensure he/she will continue to regard NPC text messages as important information. Industry standard suggests five or less mass/group messages per month.
- Mass text messages utilizing the OTMP needing to be sent to all NPC students or to groups larger than 20 people must either be sent by the NPC Marketing Office or by a designee approved by the NPC Marketing Office.
- Mass/group text messaging must NOT be used as the sole means of communicating an essential message, event, deadline or announcement. A text message must be supplemented by at least one other form of communication, such as an email, webpage or paper notice, to ensure that all students, including those who have not opted-in to texts, receive the information.
- NPC’s OTMP must NOT be used for the following:
- Communicating personal or confidential information such as social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, or any FERPA-protected data is strickly prohibited. (FERPA does not apply to prospective students)
- Personal matters (e.g. items for sale, farewell messages)
- Third-party appeals on behalf of individuals or groups external to the college. Example: United Way campaigns, student discounts at local stores, non-NPC sponsored events.
- To send group texts to any students who have not opted-in/signed up for the NPC text messages.
- Emergency alerts. Contact your campus/center front office for emergencies.
- Individuals wanting a group/mass text message sent via the OTMP on their behalf must contact the NPC Marketing Office at least one week before the send date. Authorized officials approved by the NPC Marketing Office do not need prior approval to send messages.
- All NPC personnel approved by the NPC Marketing Office to send non-emergency text messages to students using the OTMP must use the software/platform approved/provided by the Marketing Office and Information Services. This allows NPC to track messages, gather analytics, avoid duplication, and over texting students.
- All NPC personnel approved to use the OTMP are responsible for ensuring that anyone who sends them a text message requesting to be removed from NPC’s non-emergency text messaging service is formally unsubscribed from NPC’s texting list.
Based on Policy #1296; New 7/30/2019