#StateOfEnrollment: Reaching Young Americans Through Community Colleges

By Rachael Klarman

Strategy: Community College Enrollment Events

Where and when it was used: Twenty-five states throughout the first open enrollment period

Notable metrics: More than forty community colleges hosted events; over 500,000 students were contacted directly. 

Recognizing the importance of outreach strategies targeting young adults, Enroll America worked with national and state partners to encourage community college administrators to host enrollment events for their students and staff. As part of this initial engagement process, we held webinars and conference calls specifically aimed at administrators and directly reached out to colleges in states where Enroll America has staff on the ground. For example, in Florida our staff worked with Miami-Dade community college officials to set up the logistics of the events and assist with event recruitment.

Community colleges that agreed to host events committed to provide a space equipped with audio/visual capabilities so that Enroll America staff or other state partners could make educational presentations about the new health insurance options, as well as computers so that interested attendees could begin the enrollment process on-site. Community college administrators promoted the events by sending campus-wide emails and using campus newspapers, radio stations, and social media platforms to disseminate information. Enroll America provided the language for the emails and a RSVP link for the school to use in promotional materials and, working with local Department of Health and Human Services offices, recruited navigators and/or Certified Application Counselors to attend the enrollment events.

In states where Enroll America has field staff on the ground, organizers also gave informational presentations at the events, made confirmation calls to all students who signed up to attend in order to ensure they knew what documents they needed to bring to the event to begin the enrollment process, conducted sign-in and sign-out at the event, and followed up with students who did not complete the enrollment process at the events.

Best practices to replicate:

  • Encourage schools to use existing communication channels — particularly campus-wide emails — to educate students about their options and promote events.
  • Ask students to RSVP for specific time slots to ensure there are enough enrollment assisters present.
  • Make confirmation calls or send confirmation emails to increase attendance and ensure students know what to bring (names, birthdays, and Social Security Numbers for each person in the household, and well as the most recent W-2 or paystubs that show income).
  • Set up separate areas for students who know they want to start the enrollment process right away and students who want to learn more about their options first.
  • Make sure that students sign in and sign out, and include a question about whether or not they picked a plan in the sign-out process.
  • When an event attendee did not complete the enrollment process. Enroll America staff made sure to follow-up with the student with a phone call and email. 

For more ideas on how to take your outreach and enrollment efforts to the next level in the coming months, register today for our national conference, State of Enrollment: Getting America Covered, in Washington, D.C., June 16-18. 

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