U.S. Department of Education
Promoting Federal Student Aid to Low-Income High School Students
MEE was hired by the U.S. Department of Education to develop and implement a pilot social marketing campaign to let low-income, minority and first-generation high school seniors know about the variety of student aid available to them for education and training beyond high school. The primary goal was to raise awareness about federal student aid (grants, work-study and low-interest loans) among underserved students and families, by providing a culturally-specific sub-campaign as part of a larger, mainstream marketing strategy. Implementation continued in Philadelphia and Charlotte, targeting African American high school seniors, their parents/caregivers and other influencers (family members, older peers and advisors), college access programs, counselors and other school personnel at schools, after-school and career development programs, and the community-at-large. Over the two years, positive feedback for MEE’s efforts came not only from seasoned college access professionals (including key members of the Federal Student Aid Team) who had seen the need for more culturally-specific materials, but also from grassroots community-based activists and organizations who were encouraged by our emphasis on children from all backgrounds having equal access to a college education.
This unique social marketing campaign built bridges to individuals and organizations that had not been engaged fully by previous college access outreach efforts. MEE also generated significant added value for our clients during the pilot campaign, garnering numerous free ads across North Carolina (in conjunction with the College Foundation of North Carolina) and free public affairs programming in Philadelphia (leveraging our strong radio relationships). We also laid the foundation for a grassroots effort in Long Beach, CA, focused on Hispanic students and families.