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Big Bend Community College: ReEngaging Students with Immeasurable Impact


Enrollment:
3,400
Type:
Community College
Location:
Moses Lake, WA
Customer Since:
2020

Big Bend Community College: ReEngaging Students with Immeasurable Impact

Big Bend Community College (BBCC) is a Hispanic serving institution (HSI) in Moses Lake, Washington. Serving over 3,400 students, BBCC has a federal Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institution (DHSI) Grant that seeks to expand BBCC’s institutional capacity to provide relevant, timely, web-based student support services as well as an online student support services’ infrastructure. Through the summer of 2021, Tammy Napiontek, Director of Title V Grants, launched Signal Vine to better connect students to staff and resources through intentional texting.

Initially, Big Bend Community College decided to text only in their student services department. Napiontek saw that students were highly receptive to the outreach via text, especially those that were second language learners. BBCC decided to go live with one-to-one and quick messaging to move students through the enrollment and student lifecycle.

As the summer progressed, enrollments were softening and Napiontek was receptive to the idea of using ReEngage to connect with both stop out students and students who were stuck in various phases of the admissions funnel. There was some resistance to the idea, so she gave them a window to engage with 25 students via phone calls. After two outreaches and zero results, she sent a crafted ReEngage message out to 1300 students with the opportunity to leverage HEERF funds. Immediately, 700 responded and 330 ultimately registered for the fall semester.

The 330 students grossed over a million dollars of tuition dollars for BBCC. “As importantly, we found out a lot of very valuable information,” states Napiontek. “We had some processes that we built for one good reason or another. Unfortunately, it was making the task of being a student and getting enrolled unnecessarily difficult. ReEngage enabled us to find out where the blockers were and make changes.”

“One thing that we were particularly surprised by was the significant number of students who weren’t planning to register for the Fall quarter, but were planning on Winter quarter. We saved that list and now have an outreach plan to get them into classes as soon as registration for Winter opens.” They identified other items that impacted their processes, and ultimately, their enrollments:

  • Students were confused about registration and NSO; some thought it was only one registration, and weren’t able to register because it was incomplete.
  • Students would stop the enrollment process because they were waiting for a letter.
  • Language was a barrier and many students appreciate texting as a way to get assistance.
  • Dual Enrollment students needed their parent to solve issues, which involved assistance after the work day ended.

Tips for Success: How to Re-engage Students

Dedicate staff time to responding immediately after sending outreach. When Big Bend sent out their first ReEngage message, they had two people ready to respond. “We were surprised by the overwhelming response and how engaged students were in moving through the process,” said Napiontek.

Ensure staff have access to the right systems to respond effectively. “Our two staff had access to different systems. However, they really needed access to the back end of each since we weren’t pulling data into a central repository. The process to re-enroll crosses multiple systems: one for registration, another for orientation, another for testing, and so on. By having access to quickly see where students were, we could quickly identify which step was impeding their progress.”

Lead with who you are. Each text started with: Hi [first_name], this is [name] from Big Bend Community College. “I didn’t think it mattered until the time that I didn’t include my name. Trust me, it matters. Students want to know who they are talking to.”

Make it matter. Students have a lot going on and Napiontek found, “if you have the opportunity to fund students in any way, use it to peak their interest in returning.” It doesn’t have to be money, it can be other incentives on time, requirements, and even PLA credit.

Train your staff. Everyone thinks that they can text. However, Signal Vine has a lot of functionality that makes texting more effective and insightful. “Mass texting is acceptable on our campus because we have the ability to send out highly personalized, niche messages to students on issues that directly pertain to them. Keeping everyone trained up ensures that students continue to get high quality communication from the institution, regardless of department or leader.”

The Success Continues

Since the initial fall ReEngage campaign, Napiontek continues to find success.

  • Adding 13 students in one day to a Workforce initiative that had stalled after months of emailing, presentations, and phone calls. “We cleaned up our processes and created urgency; the students responded positively to both.”
  • Attestation forms. Students who missed the requirement to submit forms were sent a message and over 50% immediately responded with completed forms enabling their registration.

BBCC is helping its students in really meaningful ways that support enrollment, retention and completion. With the completion of the Washington Community College system-wide student information system, BBCC will soon have their data integrated directly into Signal Vine resulting in even more focused outreach moving forward.

Learn More:

Interested to see results like Big Bend? Learn more about ReEngage™, Signal Vine’s enrollment and retention solution.

Tammy Napiontek, Director of Title V Grants
Big Bend Community College

As importantly, we found out a lot of very valuable information. We had some processes that we built for one good reason or another. Unfortunately, it was making the task of being a student and getting enrolled unnecessarily difficult. ReEngage enabled us to find out where the blockers were and make changes.

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