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How Texting Across Campus Brought Success to Grand Rapids Community College

4 min read

It’s no secret that effective communication is key for institutions to engage prospective and current college students, but community colleges face unique obstacles. With a diverse population, including first-generation college students and non-traditional students who may be balancing family, work, and school, reaching every student where they are is a challenge. 

At Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), texting through Mongoose’s Cadence platform had immediate success– with an 3% increase in yield and triple the amount of messages within one year. 

With positive data reported in admissions, GRCC expanded the use of texting across its campus including their Cashier’s Office and academic departments. 

“The rapid adoption of texting across campus was fueled by clear and significant data.” - Eric Mullen, GRCC Associate Dean of Enrollment

Take a closer look at the numbers and strategy of GRCC below and see how Enterprise Texting can make a difference on your campus. 


The Challenge 

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In 2013, Grand Rapids began texting with Callfire due to the realization that texting was students’ preferred method of communication. Community colleges are strongly tied to local economies and, at the time, a recession actually led to a spike in enrollment with people seeking re-training and more affordable education opportunities.

Fast forward to 2016, GRCC faced challenges of declining enrollment, a shrinking pool of applicants, and a decline in attendance for admissions-related events. Staff knew something needed to change.

Wanting to personalize their approach to texting and improve efficiency of the application process for students, GRCC started using Cadence. The platform‘s advanced level of segmentation to send personalized messages to a large number of target students was huge and made an immediate impact for GRCC’s admissions teams.  


“We are able to target students with specific interests that would fit with the new offering. It’s the deeper level of segmentation. When you can be that specific and timely with your messaging, it’s huge.” – Eric Mullen, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management


The Campus-Wide Impact

Grand Rapids saw an increase in yield in just one cycle texting with Cadence. In fall 2016, their yield rate was 57.2% and by fall 2017 it totaled 60.2%. This +3% increase brought in 200 additional new students, and an estimated $226,000 in tuition revenue.


“Students may not engage with us right away, but six weeks later will drop us a note. They see texting as a viable way to get in touch with us.” – Eric Mullen, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management


With the success of texting for enrollment clear to GRCC’s campus, more and more staff members viewed the medium as an invaluable tool, and it expanded its use to other departments. 

In the past, GRCC Cashier’s office felt the volume of the texts they needed to send was too great. Once group accounts (texting accounts that could be accessed and utilized by multiple people within a department) were implemented at GRCC, the office quickly realized the value of sharing the workload and saw an immediate boost. The amount of students who paid in full increased by 7.4%. The results sold the department, which now regularly uses texting to communicate with students.


Students Who Paid in Full: 

Fall 2017 → 64.5% | Fall 2018 → 71.9% | Overall Increase → 7.74% 


GRCC’s academic programs quickly realized results with texting as well, expanding the medium for different departments and helping students connect with each other, professors and staff. 


How GRCC’s Academic Programs Use Texting: 
  • The Business Department invites students to career advising sessions
  • The Math Department assists new students with math placement questions with two-way texting
  • The Theatre Department invites prospective students to open houses and plays
  • The English Department promotes new classes to current students

Screen Shot 2022-06-03 at 12.53.51 PMWith the entire campus texting, and doing it well, GRCC tripled the number of text messages it sent within their first year. Texts sent prior to using Cadence totaled 14,000, and texts sent through the summer of 2017 totaled 41,606. 

Eric and the staff at GRCC are continuously improving their process and looking for new ways to utilize the Cadence platform due to the efficiencies gained through texting. The entire campus is onboard with using the medium to become more strategic and proactive with their communication efforts. 


While community colleges face unique challenges, we’ve found that engaging with students is the most important objective of ANY school. Discover how enterprise texting can improve your student engagement efforts.

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