College markets to attract students
By Antonio Garcia
Harold Washington College wants to raise enrollment to 12,960 by the start of next semester by expanding its marketing to high schools and local businesses, administration said.
The enrollment would be almost 3,000 higher than the current number, 11,002.
To meet the goal, Harold Washington College will hire a new director of marketing and will continue a program in which local businesses promote the school in return for grants and free classes at the college.
“We need to think strategically as a college how we can best serve our students,” said HWC’s Interim President Ignacio Lopez.
The college will appeal to high school students and principals with the success stories of CCC graduates, Lopez said.
In addition to strengthening its ties with all 24 “feeder” high schools across Chicago Public Schools, the college is also working with Alderman Gilbert Villegas of the 36th Ward to establish an economic development group to promote the college’s “10,000 Small Businesses” program, which has been sponsored by Goldman Sachs for the past six years.
“The program is geared specifically to small business owners in and around the city of Chicago that want to grow their business and support their communities,” said Lopez.
Small business owners receive grants through the Goldman Sachs Foundation and professional development courses at HWC, according to the deal.
“We want our students to be successful, and we want the communities that our students come from to be successful as well,” Lopez said.
Students enrolled in the program are considered “special interest” and are not included in CCC’s enrollment report.
Internally, the college got permission to hire a director of marketing and communications who would lead the college’s outreach efforts, according to Lopez.
The building’s accessibility to students and faculty plays a huge role in enrollment and the way the college is perceived, said instructor Dr. Adriana Tápanes-Inojosa, who serves on HWC’s Enrollment Committee.
“We believe that enrollment and retention starts from the welcoming feeling of the students when they come to the lobby,” Inojosa said.
At the district level, the soon-to-be-formed Enrollment Management team is soliciting suggestions from City College faculty regarding enrollment.
“All of you are involved in one way or another with enrollment at the colleges and we need your suggestions,” Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management Claudia Mercado wrote in an email. “We need your suggestions, comments or even ideas of what is working for enrollment at your colleges!”