JJC develops new plans for boosting enrollment

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JJC board trustees and college officials at Tuesday's workshop meeting.

JJC board trustees and college officials at Tuesday’s workshop meeting.

JOLIET – Joliet Junior College officials are planning to redouble efforts to boost student enrollment with a new strategic plan and more marketing initiatives. 

At Tuesday’s workshop meeting, trustees were given updates on the college’s enrollment and marketing initiatives. 

In light of precarious state funding and enrollment declining from peak years after the Great Recession, college officials have been focused on trying to increase the number of students at the college. Tuition, state funding and property taxes are the three major revenue sources for JJC.

For this school year, $296,500 was requested for marketing to attract students to JJC, according to college’s budget. 

The current spring semester continued to show declines in enrollment. The full-time equivalent enrollment is at 7,800 students and the total headcount is at 14,453 students, both about an 18 percent decrease from 2013. 

The college’s peak enrollment years were between 2009 and 2013, which was likely because of the Great Recession and people coming to JJC after losing work, said Joseph Offermann, JJC Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness director.

“We’re still coming off those high enrollment years and that’s kind of what we’re seeing. We’re starting to level off, hopefully,” he said.

JJC officials began the strategic enrollment management – or SEM – plan in 2014 that focused on data targets such as enrollment, persistence, retention and completion. 

Yolanda Isaacs, JJC student development vice president, said the college achieved three out of four of its data targets and will begin a new plan called Momentum 2020 that is focused on more defined pathways for students. 

Since the SEM plan was launched, the number of students who were new to the college increased by 31 percent, said Mike Hernandez, the college’s marketing and creative services director. 

Hernandez said the additional funding for marketing was used to produce TV and digital commercials, registration guide postcard reminders, radio spots, Google Adword campaigns, church bulletin advertising and other initiatives. 

Board Trustee Alicia Morales recommended more “in person” marketing and working with community-based organizations and local churches. 

“I know everyone’s on social media but we still need to keep the personal connection strong,” she said. 

In response to question about high school counselor outreach, Isaacs said JJC has a strong partnerships with counselors in all of the schools that are in the college’s 525 District. She said twice a year counselors are invited to campus to talk about the college.

“Are we scaling up those efforts? Absolutely,” she said.

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April 25, 2017 at 04:02PM

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JJC develops new plans for boosting enrollment

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