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Surviving Event Registration

It's no secret that OSU is a large and complex place with many policies around outsourcing, security, and credit card processing. This can make managing paid and even unpaid event registrations a bit of a pain.

Let's start by reviewing the types of things we might look for in an event registration system.

Key Concerns & Comparison

Collecting Registration Information
Registration type, meal type, day/event options, group registrations, non-reg purchasers.

Accepting Payments
Credit cards, checks, payment orders.

Registration Management
Modify registrations, email attendees, print badges, reporting.

Setup costs, per transaction fees, ongoing labor.

OSU Policies & Technology
Approve for business use, FERPA data, single sign on.

  Qualtrics RegOnline Engineering Commerce Site



Constant Contact
Collecting registration information Advanced Advanced Payer Only Minimal Unknown
Accept payments No Yes Yes Yes Not Allowed
Registrant management No Yes No Yes Yes
Initial setup cost
(including labor)
Free Low High Free Low
Per transaction fees Free $3 / registrant 
+ 4.95%
2.0-2.5% $1 / registrant + 5.5% N/A
Supports Single Sign On
(for registrants)



No No No
Approved for private data (FERPA) Yes No No No No
Approved for business use Yes Yes Yes No  


Free and fast. No Payments.

Qualtrics is an online survey platform that allows you to easily create and distribute surveys. Of the software in this list, it is by far the easiest and most powerful tool to collect information via online forms. It integrates with OSU Single Sign On for both survey creators and surey takers, and it is approved for FERPA data.

However, that is where the good news ends. As survey software, Qualtrics lacks most features desired in an event registration system. It does not support payments or registration management.

Bottom Line
If you have a small, free event, it's a great, easy to use tool for event registrations.

Getting Started
Qualtrics is site licensed university wide. You can sign in directly at Those of you in engineering may want to enter the enrollment code to join the engineering division (more permissions) which can be found at

Big events. Easy payments.

RegOnline is the only third party event registration system endorsed OSU Legal, OCIO Security, and the Treasurer's office. It is an ideal solution for larger events in a medium price range ($30-$500).

It supports almost any registration process you can imagine and offers extensive reporting and registrant management capabilities. You can even create small event websites. 

The main downside is that, at $3 per registrant + 4.95%, it's a little pricey. However, with large, moderately priced events, it's well worth the cost. It will save you lots of time and offer your customers significantly more convenience than alternatives. 

If that's still too expensive, you might consider working with fiscal to setup a CyberSource merchant account. This takes a lot of time but it can save you 1.5% off your transaction fees. Collecting sponsorships through the OSU giving site may save additional money.

Bottom Line
Using RegOnline is a no brainer for large, moderately priced events.

Getting Started
Kyle Bensch is the College of Engineering's contact for RegOnline within the College of Engineering.

Engineering Commerce Site

Simple Purchases. Complex Setup. What are events?

The College of Engineering has a commerce site as a service platform. It doesn't do event registrations, but it does allow people to purchase "products". A "product" could be a tshirt or a ticket for an alumni tailgate event. The only information it collects is the billing information of the purchaser. In many cases, this is not the actual attendee. 

These sites are also fairly complex and labor intensive to setup. Site owners need to work with their fiscal officers to get a CyberSource merchant account and that alone can be a significant hurdle for most.

There are really only two advantages to Engineering Commerce sites. You can sell anything. You can sell it cheaply (2.0-2.5%).

Bottom Line
Use a commerce site only in fringe cases: $3,000 tickets, few registrants, additional selling needs.

Getting Started
Start by requesting a site from us. We'll walk you through the considerations and give you a demo. If after seeing how everything works, it seems like a good fit, you'll need to work with your fiscal officer to get a CyberSource merchant account


Not Approved!

EventBrite is a leader in cheap and simple event registrations. It is much easier to use than RegOnline and is much cheaper for smaller events ($1/registration + 5.5%). However, it has fewer registration options.

It is NOT approved for use at OSU. To become approved, must sign a particular OSU liability agreement form which they have opted not to do.

Bottom Line
You may use this if you have a simple event and you are not associated with the university in an official capacity. For example, the Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (a student club), uses EventBrite for their annual half day conference.

Getting Started
We don't offer any support around EventBrite, but they offer a lot of help to get people started.

Constant Contact

Engineering Communication's Solution

Matt Schutte in Communications uses Constant Contact to manage some of their free events. He's offered tohelp others do so and this may be a suitable option for some free events.