Community colleges increasingly are turning to electronic mapping to reach targeted audiences for a variety of purposes, including enrollment, fundraising, fee-related initiatives and marketing.
With mapping systems, colleges can leverage information they routinely collect when students register, and correlate that data at the neighborhood level to reveal patterns they can use to manage enrollment and conduct funding campaigns—among other initiatives.
Electronic maps are a graphical representation of underlying data, and they enable colleges to achieve their objectives by reaching a select audience, such as a particular ethnic group or level of household income.
A tool for tough times
The trend toward using mapping comes as colleges face higher expenses and dwindling resources. Rather than aiming their messaging at the wrong groups and overspending on those efforts, colleges are using mapping systems to ensure that mailings and other communications get to the people they want to reach.
“I think the bottom line here is the bottom line,” says Bob Gochicoa, president of the CareerFocus Consortium in Michigan, which provides mapping and other marketing services to colleges.
“Traditional funding models for community colleges are broken,” he says. “State and federal support have remained stagnant. Colleges that are dependent on local taxes have taken a huge hit with declining property values.”
Colleges need to develop a new type of intelligence that will allow them to compete successfully for resources coming from their local communities, Gochicoa says. (Read more.)