Colleges encouraging older students to enroll as declining birth rates cause pool of applicants to dwindle

The Los Angeles Community College District recently partnered with College App, a company using data science to identify adults who would be open to college.
WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The number of children born last year was the lowest in three decades, and the yearslong trend means the number of high school graduates bound for college will also decrease.

"The interesting thing about colleges is they know the size of their audience 18 years in advance," said Jack MacKenzie, creator and founder of the company CollegeAPP (Adult Prospect Pipeline).

How to colleges maintain current enrollment levels in the future amid a shrinking pool of high school graduates due to declining birth rates?

The solution might be older students like David Bocanegra, who at 38 enrolled at Pierce College to set an example for his three daughters.

"I want to show them what an education can bring them," Bocanegra said.

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Marketing to potential students who previously were not interested in college can be expensive and inefficient, so the Los Angeles Community College District recently partnered with College App, a company using data science to identify adults who would be open to college.

"We enable their ability to not to market to people who don't want go and speak directly to those who do," MacKenzie said.

William Boyer, spokesman for the Los Angeles Community College District, said: "Our existing campaigns are focused on existing students or students that may have started but stop. This is opening a whole new horizon of markets for us and we're very excited about it."

Community colleges have long sought older students, but by going high-tech, finding those students might be significantly easier.

"It does help us and then we can also look and offer the concierge service to them," said Pierce College professor Jolene Rodriguez. "What is it that they need to move forward?

The final online registration fair for the fall 2020 semester by the Colleges of Los Angeles will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26. Classes begin August 31. New applicants may visit lacolleges.net for application and registration information.
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