WARWICK, RI — As students return to classrooms this fall, the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) is steadily rebuilding its enrollment, which fell during the pandemic. 

To help CCRI attract, retain, and effectively engage with students and enhance the learning experience and post-graduate job networking opportunities for alumni, U.S. Senator Jack Reed and Congressman Jim Langevin today joined CCRI President Meghan Hughes and students to deliver a $1,060,000 federal earmark for CCRI to acquire a customer relations management (CRM) system.

The CRM is meant to integrate communication tools like emails, text messages, and phone calls to reach potential students and also assist communications with current CCRI students and alumni to improve their learning experience and help with things like job searches and career networking.

This includes tracking student applications, sending out acceptance letters, managing financial aid, tracking students after graduation, and updating contact information over time.  Currently, CCRI is the state’s only public higher education institution without such a system in place.

Reed and Langevin say it is essential for CCRI to be current with technologies and have all the tools necessary to reach and support prospective students and alumni because CCRI graduates are pillars of Rhode Island’s workforce.  Senator Reed and Congressman Langevin jointly secured the federal earmark for CCRI in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations law. 

“CCRI is an essential engine of education and opportunity.  The school really focuses on helping students succeed and their success is integral to the state’s success,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.  “This new centralized customer relations management software will help CCRI reach, recruit, and retain more students by improving outreach and engagement and boosting enrollment.  It’s a powerful new communications tool to help CCRI effectively reach a wide range of prospective students and engage with students and alums through personalized messages using the methods and platforms that they prefer.  Ultimately, this federal funding will help build a stronger campus community and help CCRI build stronger communities across the state.”

“In today’s day and age, CRM software is a necessity for any large institution of higher education, not to mention the largest community college in New England,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “Every day, CCRI provides Rhode Island students with the post-secondary education and training necessary to compete in the 21st century economy. I am so proud to deliver this $1 million investment, so that CCRI can continue to build upon its phenomenal work.”

“With this federal earmark, CCRI will be able to better serve Rhode Islanders from the moment they first express an interest in the college to when they graduate and become part of the alumni family. The CRM will be an efficient, effective, and consistent tool to enroll and support students as they achieve their educational and professional goals,” said Meghan Hughes, president of CCRI. “We are so grateful to Senator Reed and Congressman Langevin for their unwavering support of our college and our students.”

CCRI, New England’s largest community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit-bearing degree and certificate programs and an additional 8,500 individuals in workforce development programs and adult education courses annually. With a passionate commitment to student success and closing equity gaps, CCRI provides Rhode Islanders with an outstanding college education that leads to strong learning outcomes, successful degree attainment and robust labor market outcomes. With four campuses across Rhode Island, CCRI offers, online, hybrid and in-person options for students, meeting them where they are and helping them achieve their educational and career goals. CCRI was named the 2019 Two-Year College of the Year by Education Dive magazine.