University College Targets Hispanic Market with Bilingual Website

News Story: March 30, 2007

In an attempt to reach a broader group of prospective students, Sacred Heart University’s University College has tapped into one of the largest demographics in the Fairfield County.

University College is the continuing education alternative at Sacred Heart University with a focus on adult and part-time college students. University College not only offers a wide array of programs where students benefit from flexible day, evening, weekend and online classes, but they can also take advantage of convenient campus locations in Derby, Fairfield and Stamford.

Just a few weeks ago, the University College website launched a mirrored Spanish version in hopes of grabbing the attention of what is arguably the most under served market by educational institutions throughout the state. 

The idea to launch a bilingual site came about a little over a year and a half ago, according to Mary Lou DeRosa, director of University College Initiatives. At that time, University College staff began brainstorming how they could draw in larger numbers of those seeking to pursue their education on a part-time basis.

“We looked at University College and asked how can we increase the enrollment in the part-time market, and where is the market under served?” DeRosa said.

Sandoval Associates, a local consulting firm with knowledge of the Hispanic community, was engaged to conduct an assessment of the educational needs of adults by meeting with Hispanic employees of the University as well as conducting research into the local community.  A new marketing plan was created that included bilingual print and radio ads, and press releases. 

Soon after came the launch of the new website. Nancy Sidoti, dean of University College, remarked, “We really are making an effort to serve a population that lives between two cultures and has made the internet part of their everyday lives.” 

According to a Roper Hispanic Internet Survey, Hispanics are online at home an average of 9.2 hours a week and rely on the internet to learn about products, share opinions and improve their lives.  The study found that 70 percent find the internet the best source for comparing prices; thus, it is the medium for influencing online Hispanics in the purchase decision.

“Not only has the launching of the new Web site opened new lines of communication to a larger population,” said Sidoti, “but it is also one way for University College to keep its commitment to the University’s mission—combining education for life with preparation for professional excellence.”