A huge 4.5 million items are lost by students on university campuses every year
University students are losing more things than ever. Did you know that over 50% of students have lost something on campus during one academic year alone? Of these, the average student loses 2 items per year: anything from chargers to student IDs.
There are 2.19 million students enrolled on university campuses. We now know that there are 4.5 million items lost by students nationally per year. That’s a lot of lost property.
items lost by students per year
However, there seems to be a fundamental issue with the lost property process on the university campus. Lost property is expensive, time-consuming and disappointing. But why? Lost property has a hidden cost in three main areas:
3. Student satisfaction
Our blog post will explore how a poor lost and found process can be detrimental to universities in these ways.
1) Lost property costs money
Firstly, without a reliable lost property process, losing things means replacing them. This could be a small or hefty price. With students relying on student loans to stretch across living and academic costs, replacing items is a huge inconvenience.
The most frequently lost items on university campuses are cables & chargers.
Over £1,000,000 is spent replacing cables & chargers lost on university campuses in the UK, every year
Furthermore, these items are actually available for collection at the university lost property office! However, only 18% of them were enquired about. There is an issue with the awareness of a lost property process at universities that needs to change. Therefore, adopting a dedicated lost property software will ensure more items are returned to students.
2) Lost property is time consuming
Secondly, the lost property process is time consuming for staff. Whether it’s the university operations team, facilities management team or university security, lost property is a headache for all. Alongside other important tasks, staff are ill-equipped to manage lost and found.
Traditional lost property processes take time. Firstly, when an item is found, it must be registered manually. This can take approximately 4 minutes per item. If your lost property team is handling 2 items for every student on campus, this adds up fast.
Lost property could be taking over 20 hours of staff time per week
Next, when an enquiry comes in from a distressed student, this can take around 10 minutes to handle. This also adds up significantly. Finding old paperwork or scrolling through an incomplete excel spreadsheet is painful.
Overall, universities are using old, slow lost property processes that must be improved.
3) Poor lost property processes mean poor student satisfaction
Lastly, the lost property process has a detrimental effect on student experience. Students trek around campus, asking different people about their lost item. This time could be spent being more productive. Furthermore, students are met with clueless staff who can’t offer any help. This is confusing and frustrating.
Moreover, communication with the student during their enquiry is poor. Many don’t receive any proof of the enquiry and sometimes never hear about their item again. Emails and phone calls are lost by staff handling other student-facing issues.
A whopping 98% of lost reusable water bottles are never enquired about
On the other hand, students may not even believe they can get their item back at all. We know the third most lost item at university is the reusable water bottle. However, 98% of these bottles are never enquired about. There is a major issue with communication and awareness.
Poor lost property systems are expensive. They’re also time-consuming for staff. Lastly, they disappoint your students. There is pressure to deliver excellent student experience in this competitive environment. Universities offering out-dated, traditional lost property process could be left behind.
If you think your university might benefit from our lost property software solution, get in touch.
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