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Local News

JJC trustees see new initiatives of strategic enrollment plan

JOLIET – Joliet Junior College officials showed board trustees at Tuesday’s meeting how they were trying to increase student enrollment and retention under a three-year strategic plan.

For the second year of the strategic enrollment plan – which was adopted by the board in 2014 – JJC officials have been focused on marketing, developmental education and course scheduling. 

The SEM plan was created to improve student enrollment and retention, as well as degree and certificate earners. 

Success in the marketing aspect of the plan is measured in “call-to-action engagement,” said Mike Hernandez, JJC marketing and creative services director. 

“A prospective student very rarely will come to our site and just apply immediately. They request information, they kick tires. …They’re sniffing out us versus other options,” Hernandez said. 

For marketing, the college has launched a “You can” campaign, a new kind of registration guide and new TV commercials in English and Spanish, Hernandez said. 

“Parents are a big influence. Parents are very influential in a student going to college,” he said about the approach to the commercials. 

In the future, JJC officials plan to produce more digital campaigns for programs and use social media more, he said. 

Board Vice Chairman Andrew Mihelich said after the presentation on the SEM plan that he would like to see a commercial showing a “dollar value in savings.” 

“I’d like to see a commercial where parents are denied a loan for a new house because they had signed on to their student loans for their children. I think we need to be a little more specific in all of our focuses,” he said.

Yolanda Isaacs, JJC vice president of student development, said moving forward the SEM plan will be focused on more enrollment-driven initiatives, including those linked with technology.

“We understand that a lot of students – especially our [traditional students] – would like to receive text messages, push notifications, etc. So that’s something that we are working on currently,” she said.

Isaacs said one major initiative she believed will increase engagement with students is a calling center.

As an example, she said it makes a difference when students – after completing an application – are contacted by the college by phone to answer additional questions or offer information. 

“This calling center – I’m excited about it – will really provide an opportunity for us to continue to engage students,” Isaacs said. 

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