In 2019, the Alamo Colleges District set a plan in motion to provide tuition-free college to high school seniors in San Antonio and the counties the District serves. Phase I of the AlamoPROMISE started with 25 area high schools.
This program is a last-dollar scholarship enhanced with college navigation and career pathway support. The last-dollar scholarship funding fills the gap between a student’s financial aid award and the cost of tuition and fees.
The initiative affords seniors the option to attend one of the five district colleges tuition-free by completing three simple steps: Save Your Seat, Apply for FAFSA or TAFSA, and apply at one of the five Alamo Colleges.
With a hyper-defined audience, we needed a hyper-targeted plan that would reach community business leaders, influencers, teachers and, most important, high school seniors in the Phase I schools. In order to refine our messaging, we held focus groups in English and Spanish with high school seniors, parents and teachers. The groups were segmented into Spanish and English-language speakers, males and females, and into parents, students or teachers. The insights from the focus groups were invaluable to the success of the campaign.
With this information, we were able to craft the AlamoPROMISE brand from logo to tagline to the overall messaging and creative in English and Spanish. As you will see in the final results, we nearly doubled our goal of student sign ups and helped raise millions of dollars in community support.
We used a series of different creative and digital remarketing strategies in English and Spanish to encourage students who showed intent but had not yet completed the steps to finish. Similar tactics were employed on social media through the use of custom audiences to retarget students on Facebook and Instagram.
To reach the student influencers, we used a mix of Spanish broadcast television, outdoor, transit and social media. Our messaging was focused on the three-step plan and student eligibility for the last-dollar funding, then shifted into lower funnel messaging as we neared the sign-up deadline. Public and private sector partners were reached through outdoor, transit, general market television, radio, sponsored email marketing and search engine marketing (SEM).
The projected enrollment was 3,036. Within the first 6 months, over 7,000 students had pledged to AlamoPROMISE, more than doubling the original goal.