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Alabama's community colleges are having a tough year on enrollment. Most of them are 20 percent down from last year, with many down by larger percentages.

Many surveys have shown that students -- during the period of COVID-19 -- are more likely to attend colleges that are close to home. Alabama's community colleges are trying to make that work to their advantage with a statewide ad campaign with the theme (and tagline) "You Don't Have to Go Far to Go Far in Life."

Rachel Bunning, communications and marketing administrator for the Alabama Community College system, said, "Accessibility, whether that means proximity to home or the ability to take classes online, is more important now than ever with the coronavirus pandemic."

She said the theme is in a bunch of ads, running throughout the state, the majority online, but also on the radio and billboards. "Alabama’s community colleges are uniquely positioned with more than 170 locations across the state to serve students, which means if you’re seeking postsecondary courses or training, chances are there’s a location in your community," she said. "Being accessible to all has always been an important message for our colleges, but this new slogan is the first time it’s been used as the primary focus of a statewide marketing campaign."

The campaign has only been running a week, so it's too early to judge results. But Bunning said she is confident it will work. "One of the many benefits of community colleges is that they’re local. They’re part of the community," she said.

The community college system worked with VisionPoint Marketing on the campaign.

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