Check your inbox, not your mailbox, for your Dean’s List letter

Until now, stu­dents whose hard work through­out the quar­ter earned them a spot on the Dean’s List have been noti­fied by mail. Their aca­d­e­mic achieve­ments will con­tinue to be rec­og­nized with a let­ter, but the deliv­ery method has changed. Begin­ning sum­mer quar­ter 09, Dean’s List let­ters are deliv­ered by e-mail, not by postal mail. Stu­dents receive a let­ter con­tain­ing a link to a secure web­site (more on that below) where the let­ters can be viewed or saved in PDF for­mat, so they can eas­ily be printed if desired.

Why the change?

There are a few rea­sons for tran­si­tion­ing from phys­i­cal to elec­tronic let­ters. Finan­cial respon­si­bil­ity is cer­tainly one of them. The cost of paper, envelopes, print­ing and postage for the thou­sands of let­ters mailed each quar­ter adds up. Even in sum­mer, the quar­ter with the least enroll­ment, there are typ­i­cally about 1,200 to 1,500 Dean’s List stu­dents; that num­ber can reach 8,000 or even 10,000 in autumn quar­ters. With each let­ter cost­ing about 50 cents in postage and mate­ri­als alone, going elec­tronic saves a lot of money. Although shar­ing good news with our stu­dents and their fam­i­lies is a good rea­son to spend funds, in these tight fis­cal times it’s pru­dent to save money wher­ever possible.

Also, today’s stu­dents are increas­ingly accus­tomed to elec­tronic ver­sions of doc­u­ments: online bill pay­ments and bank­ing; e-mailed receipts for both online and in-store pur­chases; even some med­ical records have moved to the web. In this envi­ron­ment it makes sense to deliver noti­fi­ca­tion of aca­d­e­mic schol­ar­ship online, too. It’s worth not­ing that stu­dents who made the dean’s list and whose information-release sta­tus per­mit it are posted on the University’s web­site as well.

What about infor­ma­tion security?

We’ve taken great care to ensure that this new process meets FERPA guide­lines for pro­tect­ing stu­dent data. The noti­fi­ca­tion mes­sage, which is e-mailed to the student’s offi­cial UW-provided e-mail address, con­tains only a generic intro­duc­tion, the student’s name, and a cus­tomized link. When fol­low­ing that link, the stu­dent must prove their iden­tity by authen­ti­cat­ing with their UW NetID before their let­ter is displayed.

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