The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Connected with Prospects During the Pandemic

How an urban, public university uses text messaging powered by Modern Campus Signal Vine to keep enrollment & retention strong

About The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga






undegraduate degree programs



graduate degree programs

in this case study: Patrick Noland, Strategic Enrollment Technology Specialist

Being able to reach our students via text during COVID was an absolute game-changer for us. There are so many important pieces of information that we have to relay week in and week out, and just like so many of us, students are inundated with marketing emails and spam calls that end up absolutely burying our attempts to reach them through those mediums. With Signal Vine, we can make sure we get that one-on-one contact and deliver that critical info right where we know the student will see it.

Patrick Noland

The Challenge


When The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) moved online as a result of COVID in Spring 2020, the Enrollment Management team realized that their communications weren’t reaching prospective students. Prospects would report getting stuck during the application process and, because of the pandemic, they couldn’t book in-person appointments with advisors to get the help they needed to apply.

To try and assist “stuck” prospects, staff began sending emails that listed the steps toward enrollment. But prospects reported that they felt confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information. 

In hopes of reaching more prospective students and guiding them toward enollment, UTC adopted texting powered by Modern Campus Signal Vine into their communications strategy. 



UTC immediately discovered that thousands of prospective students who did not respond to email outreach or phone calls were happy to respond to text messages. Texting allowed staff to instantly clear up steps in the admissions process that might have otherwise led prospects to abandon their applications. Moreover, students who might have felt embarrassed to ask questions in person were more comfortable inquiring via text message. 

With all of that said, UTC was able to maintain retention and enrollment numbers through the pandemic. Enrollment from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 actually slightly increased!

Staff were worried that because the state of Tennessee offers free community college, many current students would transfer out and prospective students would opt to enroll elsewhere. But that didn't happen; students enrolled and stayed at UTC—a result that many staff credit directly to boosting support and engagement during COVID through text messaging.


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About Modern Campus

Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.

Powered by Omni CMS, DIGARC, Presence, Signal Vine and Destiny One, the Modern Campus modern learner engagement platform enables innovative institutions to create a “learner to earner” lifecycle that engages modern learners for life.


Delivering massive personalization, AI-driven recommendations and a modern e-commerce engine, Modern Campus creates a student-first digital experience and removes silos across campus. Presidents and provosts, marketing and IT teams, admissions, registrars, student affairs and CE divisions can partner to attract, enroll, empower, retain, credential and re-engage students with pathways for lifelong learning.

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