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Wednesday, April 28, 2004
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Online contracts make for shorter lines at Chubb Hall

By Breana Krotz

Ohio University has made big strides in making housing selection and contract signing easier for its students. By providing online housing selection in 2003 and implementing online residence and dining services contract signing this spring, Ohio University students no longer have to spend time attending the selection process or waiting in line at Chubb Hall.

Students are now able to select their room, roommate and meal plan for the following year all from the comfort of their own residence hall.

"We started talking about the possibility of online contracts when we began the online room selection last spring and we knew that this would be the second step," says Pamela Drake, associate director of residence services. "The process for the students is very easy and the steps are easy to understand, and for us it saves a lot of labor and time."

Thanks to the new system, Ohio University staff will spend less time entering and verifying room selection and contracts.

"On the due date of the deposit, the cashiers used to have lines of students waiting, and at times more than 1,200 students would come in on the last day to submit their deposit and contract," says Christine Sheets, director of business and residence services. "We can see who hasn't paid their deposit yet and we send them a reminder e-mail. Or in the situation of people who haven't completed a contract yet, we now have an easier way of capturing those folks and reminding them."

To ensure easy usability, Ohio University residence services staff helped participate in trial runs, while the computer service center developed the program.

"We received very good feedback and were able to make changes to improve user satisfaction," says Sheets.

Ohio University's recent online successes have staff looking forward to additional online contracts and services, such as: Garage parking permits, freshman housing contracts and room changes.

Breana Krotz is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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