Monday, February 1, 2010

Connections, February 2010

Welcome to 2010. The past year has been a real challenge for many of our students and our alums. Let me begin this message by wishing you all a much better new year.

For Charter Oak, the weak economy has been increasing both the number of students entering the College and the number of students applying for and accepting financial aid. At this point in the academic year, the College has already surpassed the total number of students who received financial aid in Fiscal Year 2009; and the numbers continue to grow. So we are growing, but it is pretty clear that our growth is being driven by economic disruption and the need for adults to improve their workforce credentials. The good news is that helping adults attain degrees is exactly what Charter Oak was created to do. So with every graduate, with every course enrollment, with every certificate we issue, we are helping families cope with the economic turmoil. You can help us serve our most financially challenged students. The Annual Appeal Campaign for the Charter Oak State College Foundation is in full swing. The Foundation is providing $30,000 in grants, this academic year, to Charter Oak students in need. This generosity is made possible by the support we receive from Alums and Friends of the College. We hope you are one of them. You can donate by visiting

One of the new developments at the College is our tuition fee waiver for Connecticut’s military veterans. Charter Oak State College has not been named under the Connecticut State Statutes requiring public institutions to provide tuition waivers for Connecticut veterans because the College does not have “tuition.” Instead, it has fees. However, the staff and Board of Trustees agree it is important that the College does its fair share to support our veterans. So, in November, the Board approved a tuition waiver policy, following one instituted at the Connecticut State University System. Our new policy allows a 50% course fee waiver for Connecticut veterans who matriculate at Charter Oak. We are also reviewing our fee structure for active members of the military in order to align it more closely with those of other military-serving institutions.

In another area, the marketing staff is tracking how the College’s media efforts performed in enticing potential students to the College. These tracking reports enabled staff to make better-informed decisions regarding our spring, 2010 marketing efforts. For example, staff found that of six radio stations used last fall, three performed well while three underperformed in terms of luring students to the College’s website. That tracking information allowed us to improve the efficiency of our radio buy for the College’s spring enrollment campaign. In addition, research has shown that although the median age of Charter Oak students remains at 40, one of the College’s fastest growing demographic segments is in the 25-and-under age group. So it won’t surprise you that we are advancing the College’s efforts in the area of social networking. Our staff is blogging on Facebook and LinkedIn, and the College has observed that more and more alumni are using the social networking blogs. Check us out on these sites, and let us know what you think.

As always, feel free to send your thoughts directly to me at, leave a message at 860-832-3876, or comment here.