Posted by Dedra Chamberlin on Aug 16, 2015 10:08:00 AM

At the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), new students and their parents attend summer orientations to learn all about the campus. Parents always ask, “how can I access information about my child's course schedule, tuition, and their grades”? Up until Cirrus Identity, the answer has been, "talk to your kid!" As parents, we know that is often a difficult task as students are engrossed in their college lives. Parents need a way to check in without having to track down their sons and daughters.

Access to protected online resources requires users to have a University account, including parents. Because parents are not part of the University community, it takes a few extra steps to grant them access. 

Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at UMBC asked campus IT leadership to explore solutions that would grant parents easy access to student information and still guarantee students the ability to grant and revoke access as they chose. Is there a better way to handle on-line identities for parents of the community?

UMBC contacted Cirrus Identity and signed up for a trial period to test the waters. Shortly thereafter UMBC put in place parent access with Cirrus Identity’s Gateway Service. Students can log into the campus portal, submit an email address for the person they’d like to invite, and choose the information they would like to share. Students still have control over their information.  

When parents receive the invitation email, they get to chose a social profile (UMBC elected Google or Facebook) to use as a profile account. The Cirrus Gateway eliminates the need for parents to create another profile to keep track of. For all future access, parents don't have to remember a specific 'username' and 'password'.

UMBC Login Screen

UMBC customized their existing portal, implemented in PeopleSoft campus solutions, to support the student invitation process.

Carnegie Mellon is modifying a homegrown student information system to integrate with the Cirrus Identity solutions, leveraging not just the gateway, but the Cirrus Invitation Service. Carnegie Mellon's service, dubbed "My Plaid Student" allows students to generate an email-based invitation to parents to register a social identity for logging in to pay bills and request enrollment verification. Carnegie Mellon is working with Cirrus Identity to replace their current service with a combination of the Cirrus Gateway and Cirrus Invitation Services. The student will continue to use the existing system to enter the email address, but in the future that process will spawn a message to the Cirrus Invitation Service API, which in turn will trigger an email invitation to the parent and direct the parent to register a social identity. Cirrus Identity will, in turn, post a message back to Carnegie Mellon with user IDs from the social identity provider, and then parents will be all set to log in to the service via a social provider going forward. This process makes it easy for parents to sign up, and prevents the frustration of forgotten usernames and passwords since parents log in with social identities regularly.

Other campuses plan to integrate parent access via the Cirrus Gateway Service, including Indiana University which plans to provide parent access to the student housing application via the gateway.

Want to see more? Contact us for a Gateway demo.


Topics: Higher Education