Can a California Community College DOUBLE its Student Enrollment, Despite COVID Fears?

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District delivers college education in the Southern Alameda County through its two campuses Chabot College and Las Positas College. The combined colleges serve 29,000 students who get a great start or continue their education, on their way to developing a trade or a 4-year university.

Southern Alameda Country, CA
Southern Alameda Country, CA

2020 and COVID-19
As with many businesses and educational institutions, in order to keep their staff and students safe from COVID-19, the district had to quickly switch to remote learning early in 2020. That meant many changes in not only how the classes were taught, but also in all aspects of operations and student registration.

Adverse Effects on Registration
The challenge came with registering new students for the 2020-2021 school year, especially high school students who wanted to get an early start on college by registering while finishing their last couple of years of high school.

Adverse Effect on Student Registration

Normally, they would register for concurrent enrollment by filling out a paper or PDF application and forwarding it to the college. With COVID and the lockdowns, much of the one-on-one assistance the administration staff wanted to offer couldn’t be. So, the colleges expected a drop in enrollment. That meant hundreds of new students who wouldn’t be able to start on their paths to greater education, preparation for a career, meeting new friends and creating their future success. At a minimum, their dreams and education would be on hold. In the extreme, the delay would mean never getting the education they wanted!

A Creative Solution
The Admissions staff at both colleges teamed up with the district IT department leadership and, taking advantage of some recently made available emergency COVID funding, came up with a creative solution.

They knew they had to make the application process fully digital and do it in a way that the students found easy to use. The application had to be simple to complete not only by the students, but also for getting approvals from the students’ parents, their principal, and for sending the college their official transcripts.

The district already had a great relationship with ValTeo Tech’s lead Solution Architect and, with our guidance, they developed a smooth process for not only giving the the students the power to start the application process themselves, but for completing it, routing it to their parent for approval, their high school Principal for review and upload of the transcript, and for the college staff’s review and notification of the application results.

The colleges developed a web page to help the students provide everyone’s email addresses, and then launch the application. All of the routing, signing, review, email reminders and notifications were then automated using DocuSign’s PowerForm technology.

Results Beyond Registration
The Chabot-Las Positas Community College District teams pulled off the design to development and launch in less than 5 weeks!

Even though the launch started mid-way through the application submission period, they received 93% more application submissions than they would have expected in a standard year. In other words, the solution not only overcame the expected reduction in college applications, it almost doubled the number of applications!

That’s great news for students who could now get a head start with their college education, on their way to achieve their educational and career dreams.

It also meant a reduction in costs for the college since they saw the elimination of staff overtime that was previously required to complete the review process. The staff no longer needed to follow up with high schools to get official transcripts. They no longer needed to validate that all application fields were filled out, or that the parents and principal had completed their review and approval. It was all handled by the automation they’d put in place.

This also meant that the students saw the results of their application submissions sooner. Instead of the typical 30 days review, the review process was reduced to just 4 days!

Thanks to the combined vision and the will to quickly act, the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District admissions teams and the district’s IT leadership, helped bring to life the dreams of hundreds of new college-bound students, and give hope to families, especially in these trying times.


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