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OSHE Some College, No Degree Campaign

The Office of Innovation worked with the NJ State Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) to launch the Some College, No Degree (SCND) campaign encouraging New Jersey students, who started college, but left before finishing their degree, to return. This work was undertaken by OOI’s C+E Lab.


Roughly 1 million New Jerseyans have started college, but stopped before completing their degree. The State, led by OSHE, has launched a suite of financial assistance and coaching tools to help these individuals return to school and earn their degree.

Innovation In Action

To help the OSHE project team persuade non-returning students to re-enroll in higher education, the C+E Lab helped create a marketing campaign to drive awareness and uptake of these programs and services. The C+E lab conducted ethnographic research to understand the target audience’s underlying motivations, which informed the creation of a communication strategy and marketing materials designed to encourage these individuals to return to college and complete their degree. The C+E Lab worked in an advisory capacity with OSHE to execute the paid media campaign, as well as subsequent optimization of the campaign’s ongoing performance.

Impact + Metrics

  • The C+E Lab’s research shifted OSHE’s understanding of their target audience, and revealed that the State’s originally-intended approach might not motivate students to return and could be potentially alienating.
  • Based on its research, the C+E Lab developed a communication strategy that reframed the State’s narrative and recommended media channels and budgets to meet the audience where they are.
  • Also based on its research, the C+E Lab developed creative themes that brought the communication strategy to life, and quantitatively validated the content as most effective in creating awareness and intent, and that it was equitable in its appeal.
  • The multi-channel campaign leveraging digital, social, and traditional media channels garnered 91 million impressions, 5.8 million video views, and connected more than 63,000 people with information about valuable State resources that can help them return to college and complete their degree.
  • The campaign also generated over 2,000 leads (residents wanting to be connected with State higher education institutions) with 86% of leads from members of underserved communities.


  • The paid media campaign ended in November 2023.


  • NJ State Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

Last updated on 5/2/24

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