SOWELA Technical Community College: ReEngaging Students After Hurricanes and COVID
SOWELA Technical Community College: Re-engaging Students After Hurricanes and COVID
SOWELA Technical Community College located in Lake Charles, LA offers associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The college empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree. SOWELA enrolls 3,000 students.
Fall 2019 conversion was very strong and leaders were excited for continued success for Fall 2020, despite the challenges of COVID. However, on August 27, 2020, the week after classes began, Category 4 Hurricane Laura hit the campus and did significant damage forcing the campus to close and move fully online. The culmination of the two events resulted in enrollment being significantly impacted.
To re-engage students who were unable to return in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 and were unresponsive to several email outreaches, Allison Dering, Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid, did a postcard campaign to 1,566 students. The postcard included a $500 scholarship grant where 12 students responded and ultimately registered.
Director Dering turned to Signal Vine to try a different approach: texting. Each student received a personalized text asking them if they would like to return. Over the next three days, 46 students responded and ultimately registered for classes.
Not only are 46 students back on track with completing their credentials, SOWELA was garnered over $170,000 in tuition.
“Students are on their phones. With nuanced text messaging and a clean re-enrollment process, we quickly supported students in their desire to return and complete their credential. Texting was incrementally less work and had a much higher ROI in terms of time, dollars, and staff engagement.”
SOWELA uses text messaging regularly to engage students through the application and enrollment process. “This year we will continue to expand our texting outreach to students in a coordinated, meaningful way for the benefit of both our students and staff,” states Dering.
Interested to see results like SOWELA? Learn more about Signal Vine ReEngage™: an enrollment and retention solution. For more ideas on how to utilize input from students for optimal resource allocation, check out our ebook COVID 2.0: Bridging the Freshman-Sophomore Gap.
Students are on their phones. With nuanced text messaging and a clean re-enrollment process, we quickly supported students in their desire to return and complete their credential. Texting was incrementally less work and had a much higher ROI in terms of time, dollars, and staff engagement.
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