Welcome to this limited-edition newsletter highlighting the important work of community colleges nationwide.
Community College Insights

Telling a better story about community colleges

Winter 2023
Welcome to this limited-edition newsletter highlighting the important work of community colleges nationwide. Each newsletter will feature a variety of topics of interest and resources, and we invite you to share feedback with Lumina Foundation.
Shauna Davis
Strategy Director for Participation
Mary Laphen Pope
Strategy Officer for Participation
Lumina Foundation Grantees Map

Taking on brands across the country

If you think about a college's brand as their reputation—how people experience the college, their perceptions—and what they say about a college, then we know that brand perception matters a great deal in education.

When we started this journey two years ago, we set out to better understand what adults thought about the brand of community college. From there, we developed a national challenge to support two-year colleges in raising the profile of their institutions and in developing meaningful ways to connect with the millions of Americans who could benefit from education beyond high school.

We initially launched The Million Dollar Community College Challenge with the intention of helping 10 colleges jump-start that brand transformation. And then something amazing happened.

The college brand in action

Brand diagram

At Lumina Foundation, we understand the power of a brand. It's something we think about daily. Are we staying true to our mission? Are we creating experiences with our grantees that are inclusive and designed for success? When people visit our website, walk through our office doors, or interact with our staff, do they have an experience that is memorable and provides a sense of belonging? And are we living up to all that we stand for?

We recognize that our brand is not a static image or external advertisement — our brand is who we are. The importance of walking the talk and creating a brand sensory experience should be at the core of any mission driven organization — especially higher education

From the website to the parking lot to the classroom, every touchpoint is an opportunity to build a college’s brand.

Join us for this episode of Inside Out: Community Colleges Far and Wide

Inside Out
We travel around the United States to take a closer look at what's interesting and innovative in learning beyond high school. We went far and wide to visit some amazing community colleges. We bet you've never thought about community colleges like this!
Next up, we're traveling to Wilmington, NC to visit Cape Fear Community College, the fifth-largest community college in North Carolina, where education and community intersect. What can we learn from this dynamic coastal college? Come along as we meet engaging faculty and talented students and explore a variety of programs that make for an inspiring and exciting college experience.

Why mobile optimization matters at small colleges

Student holding a phone

Community colleges across the country need to be creative in how they attract and enroll adult learners in their communities. For small colleges in particular, it's critical that their touchpoints reach their students where they are, and for 97 percent of the population (according to Pew Research), that's on their cell phones.

At Lumina Foundation, we recognize that focusing on a college's digital presence and mobile capabilities is vital to colleges expanding their reach, promoting their brand, and supporting marketing efforts.

Mobile insights in higher education

Insights from TrendyMinds

An optimized website experience matters for every user and device type. But on mobile, attention and screen real estate are smaller and every millisecond counts.

  • 95 percent of higher ed prospects say website design impacts their decision.
  • Reducing mobile site load time by 0.1 seconds can increase conversion rate by 8 percent.
First Impressions Matter

First Impressions Matter

  • Searches for higher ed-related queries on Google increased on mobile devices last year while decreasing on all other device types.
  • 40 percent of students report using a mobile device to complete “most” course-related activities.

Technical assistance

Lumina offers technical assistance opportunities for community colleges interested in telling a better brand story.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Website Workshops and special five-part Marketing Academy. We hope you have found these opportunities beneficial and are using what you've learned to support your college's goals.

For those who missed The Million Dollar Community College Website Workshops, you can find those recordings and resources listed on The Million Dollar Community College Challenge webpage.

Stay tuned for future announcements of technical assistance opportunities.

More Information

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Have a question about the topics discussed, an idea to share with Lumina Foundation, or feedback on our work? We would love to hear from you. Simply send us an email, and we will be sure to follow up. Reach us at: challenge@luminafoundation.org