Managing Cash at University Events

With universities ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000+ students, and the largest university football stadium holding 80,000+ people, it’s no surprise that college campuses are prime real estate to host special events.

College campuses have venues and areas specifically designated for events to hold a majority of the student population. Since universities host hundreds of events over the course of a school year, which range in size and type, there are typically several venue locations within a campus to support the occasion.

Special Events on Campus

With the increase in people on campus for these events, the amount of cash on campus increases significantly. And, as this growth in cash flow rises, the university becomes more susceptible to loss and theft. In addition, there is also high risk for human error in cash handling/counting during events, and increased exposure when transporting cash around campus or to the bank. It is important to keep your university’s assets safe, secure, and accurate. There is a need to have efficient cash management procedures in order to successfully manage everything at a large event – from operations to cash logistics.

Cash Use at Events

A common misconception is that most people attending an event would pay for things like concessions and merchandise with a credit or debit card.

However, according to the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, most consumer payments are for small value transactions and cash predominates these small value payments.

Diary of Consumer Payment Choice cash statistic

In 2016, the average cash transaction was approximately $22. These findings show that the value of the payment appears to influence whether a consumer chooses to use cash, credit or another form of payment.

People tend to pay with cash at college events because they know their transactions will be less than $25. When considering the different costs associated with an event, attendees will determine what type of payment method they want to use. Universities should consider the following when determining their expected cash flow during an event:

ꟷ   Ticket costs
ꟷ   Parking and gas
ꟷ   Concessions
ꟷ   Memorabilia and fan merchandise

Most people will choose to pay for parking, concessions and memorabilia with cash due to the value of those payments. For example, an attendee would have cash for the $15 parking, $5 hot dog and popcorn, and $20 t-shirt. Add up these three costs, and get the minimum amount of cash an individual is bringing on campus. Multiply that by the hundreds or thousands of people attending the event and you’ll get a ballpark for the amount of cash that will be entering your campus for any given event. And, that’s not including the university’s on-hand cash needed for day-to-day operations.

Due to the number of opportunities an event attendee has to pay for items, administrators need to take into consideration the stand-alone concession stands, parking and concession attendants on foot that are only capable of accepting cash. With all the possible points of sale involving cash, it is pertinent to have cash management procedures and policies.

managing cash at university events

Managing the Abundance of Cash

Due to the abundance of cash on campus during events, handling and securing the university’s cash should be a priority. At any event, thousands of dollars in cash may be collected at ticket booths, concession stands, and merchandise stores.

It is important to create regulations and processes for how cash is managed and handled throughout an event. Streamlining the cash management process allows for standardized procedures, and accountability. Standardizing the process decreases the university’s susceptibility to theft, loss and human error.

Create the best plan for events by partnering with an outsourced cash management service to recommend the appropriate solutions for your university. The recommended procedures should be implemented for all events on your campus. The outsourced cash management service will ensure your cash is safe in every aspect, from secure storage in a smart safe to verification and deposit into your bank account—leaving you with peace of mind knowing your cash is protected.

Start managing cash from major events on campus with these recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justice:

ꟷ    Locate and mark all cash collection booths and concessions on the stadium floor map
ꟷ    Ensure security forces are located near the cash collection and concession areas
ꟷ    Have law enforcement review the travel routes that event staff will take to move cash to a central location
ꟷ    Review the routes for vulnerabilities
ꟷ    Have law enforcement approve the cash pick-up times
ꟷ    Secure the central cash location with law enforcement or private security
ꟷ    Store the cash in a secure safe in the central cash location before it is transported to the bank
ꟷ    Give law enforcement a written estimate of the amount of cash that will be collected at each booth and concession
ꟷ    Give law enforcement a list of names and duties for all personnel who will handle cash
ꟷ    Contract with an armored vehicle service to pick up the cash and transport it to the bank

With 3,000+ universities across the country, events are constantly being hosted on premise; bringing more people and more money on campus. Universities should seek asset protection at events and at times of high cash volume to ensure their valuables are safeguarded.


Create the most efficient and secure campus for cash by understanding more about the unique challenges universities face and the future of cash.


* U.S. Department of Justice “Planning and Managing Security for Major Special Events: Guidelines for Law Enforcement” (March 2007)