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Graduate

Memphis

Group 2

Table
2

Team Introduction…………………………………………3
Executive Summary……………………………………….5
Organization Background…………………………………6
SWOT Analysis…………………………………………...7
Social Media Analysis…………………………………….9
Secondary Research………………………………………11
Primary Research…………………………………………12
Key Publics……………………………………………….13
Key Messages…………………………………………….14
Goals, Objectives and
Strategies………………………………………………….15
Evaluation…………………………………………………18
Conclusion………………………………………………...19
Appendices………………………………………………..20
Timeline……………………………………………..21
Budget……………………………………………….22
Sample Tactics……………………………………....23

Team
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Introd
3

Blythe Wilson is a public relations professional with a focus on strategic digital media. She
currently manages several websites, social media pages, and writes blogs for a chain of
veterinary hospitals in the Mid-South. She is a senior at the University of Memphis’ Journalism
Department with a concentration in public relations and will graduate in December. In her free
time, Blythe enjoys reading, writing, gardening, and playing the guitar.

Kate Jackson is a senior at the University of Memphis. She currently


works for the federal government and event coordinating on the side.
She is a co-host of an upcoming podcast called Magical Misfits
covering nerd culture and everything outside the box. Kate will
graduate this December with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.

Natalie Cooper is a public relations


major and social media marketing minor graduating in
December. She spent her last four years highly involved in her
sorority, Kappa Delta, even serving on the chapter council as Vice
President of Public Relations. She is now a successful full-time
artist specializing in acrylic paintings of cats and dogs that she
runs solely over social media. She spends the rest of her time
exercising or enjoying the company of friends.

Aften Locken works in the wine, beer and spirits


industry for tourism and events. After a successful corporate career, starting a few
businesses, dabbling in real estate, writing a book and traveling the world, she
decided to go back to school and do the ol’ college thing. She graduates from the
University of Memphis with a journalism degree in December.

Andrew Hill is a senior at the University of


Memphis, hoping to graduate in spring of
2019 with a degree in public relations. He
worked in engineering and maintenance field for a couple
of decades, but was not fulfilled. Andrew fancies himself
an artist and hopes to eventually lend his talents to some
unsuspecting yet hopefully grateful non-profit.

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Malcolm Lane is a senior at the University of Memphis with


aspirations to become the President of the United States. He is
currently working retail, desk assistant and is an entrepreneur here in
Memphis. He will graduate this December with a bachelor’s degree in
Public Relations.

.
Wesley Paraham is a journalist and Public
Relations and Social Media Coordinator at DCA. He has
contributed to High Ground News, I Love Memphis, and was
Editor-in-Chief of the music lifestyle blog Cultpot back when
Tumblr was hot. He currently lives in Midtown with his girlfriend
and their two cats.

Executi
Graduate Memphis is a completely free resource that helps Memphis-area adults in obtaining a
post-secondary education. They are poised to be of assistance to over 200,000 adults in the

ve
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region, be a leading organization in this sector, receive community and financial support and be
the focus of media attention -if only more people knew about it.

Graduate Memphis does not effectively communicate their mission with their key publics,
resulting in an overall unawareness of the organization. Even with increased awareness, they still
face the challenge of life circumstances, such as jobs and family, of potential clients that stand in
the way of attending school.

This book contains a campaign plan to help Graduate Memphis become the lead organization in
Memphis and surrounding areas assisting adults who wish to begin or complete a post-secondary
education. It tackles the immediate need to raise awareness, addresses the underlying issue of
client impediments, and works towards the final goal. The tagline “Educate the Great” unites key
messages and ideas.

The following pages outline strategies and tactics to develop owned media and gain earned
media. Our aim is to engage the target audience, by delivering attention-grabbing messages that
promote a positive mindset about returning to school while delivering clear information about
available resources. These efforts will be linked to getting face-to-face interaction with potential
clients to ultimately increase enrollment. It is designed to give the organization a jump start in
awareness over a six-month time frame, then transition into a long-term public relations strategy
with strong, clear messages of positivity and availability.

Organiz
Graduate Memphis is a grant-funded organization in Memphis, Tennessee that offers free
academic and financial advising to adults who wish to receive a post-secondary education. The
organization is an action-initiative of Leadership Memphis, a leadership organization founded in
Memphis in 1979. In addition to helping students obtain associate’s and bachelor’s degrees,

ation
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Graduate Memphis helps advise adult students on how to receive degrees and certificates from
career colleges, technical schools, and vocational programs. The organization also helps provide
financial and career advising to hopeful graduates.

Currently the organization has accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, although
the latter is not active. Direct outreach is conducted to employers, businesses and nonprofits to
give information about the program. There is a website with direct contact information. The
organization hasn’t received any media coverage in the last two years..

Graduate Memphis is located at the College Resource Center in the Benjamin L. Hooks Library.
Participants are assigned an education advisor that meets with the prospective student to make a
plan for graduation. Their office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00
p.m., Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

SWO
Strengths
● Free resources for participants
● Local partnerships
Weaknesses
● Lack of key public awareness
● Social media presence
● Graduate testimonials ● Media attention

T
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● Centrally located ● Website navigability and information

Opportunities Threats
● Many potential participants ● Grant funding
● Social media engagement ● Circumstances of participants
● News coverage ● High cost of tuition
● Community involvement ● Similar programs
● Increased donation potential

Strengths

● Free resources are available to program participants such as career advising, access to
their training center, assistance with scholarships and financial aid and workshops.
● Graduate Memphis is strongly supported by other organizations. It is an action initiative
of Leadership Memphis, a community organization involved in the betterment of
Memphis. The program is also partnered with local schools and universities, Tennessee
Reconnect, The Graduate! Network and The Plough Foundation for funding.
● As of March 2016, 21 adults completed post-secondary degrees through the assistance of
Graduate Memphis. (Greaney, 2016) They can offer impactful testimonials.
● The location is central to many Memphians, located in the Benjamin L. Hooks library on
Poplar Avenue.

Weaknesses

● There is a general lack of awareness among key publics, as indicated by our research.
● There is low social media presence and engagement. Some platforms have decreased in
followers in the last six months.
● The organization and its programs are not being covered by media.
● The website offers vague information and is unclear about the differences in services
available. There are no links to social media accounts on the website.

Opportunities

● As of 2016, when the organization launched, there are over 200,000 adults in the
Memphis area without a post-secondary education. (Greaney, 2016) This is a substantial
pool for outreach and participation.
● Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are already in place.
● News stories are available from the organization such as profile pieces on successful
graduates, updates on accomplishments and any events or workshops scheduled for the
community.
● A school system of universities, colleges, technical schools and public high schools are in
place for partnerships to help raise awareness among potential participants.

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● Greater awareness and higher graduation rates through the program could lead to
donations.

Threats

● Grant funding limits the budget and is not guaranteed to sustain the organization long-
term. The Plough Grant supporting the organization has ended.
● Adults without a post-secondary degree usually do not have one for a reason, such as
difficult life circumstances or financial hardship. The availability of Graduate Memphis
does not necessarily alleviate time or stress from the lives of participants.
● Increasing costs of tuition threaten the gap between available assistance and finances of
adults in need. (Seltzer, 2017)
● Other programs are available for similar services such as College Pays Tennessee and
internal resources from schools and universities.

Social
Graduate Memphis’ main message is that of success and encouragement for those seeking to
further their education. The organization’s social media consists of links to helpful resources and
articles with their largest amount of followers on Twitter. Graduate Memphis has an Instagram
account that is basically inactive. The organization’s Facebook Page has the most engagement

Media
overall based on likes and shares. Graduate Memphis also utilizes LinkedIn with a Graduate
Memphis page and a page named Leadership Memphis. Leadership Memphis is where this
organization shares information and articles, but it is not linked to the Graduate Memphis page
which makes it difficult to find. Sharing the content to Graduate Memphis’ LinkedIn page would
possibly make the information much simpler for LinkedIn users to find.

Analysis
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Statistics/ Analysis:
Facebook Page (@GraduateMemphis): as of 11/18/18
https://www.facebook.com/GraduateMemphis/
- 992 likes
- 979 followers
- 4.4 out of 5 rating
Last post was 11/17
Average Posts: every 3 to 18 days
Average Engagement: 0-5 likes per post/ 1 share every 2-5 posts

Recommendation: Create more original content by taking photos and creating video interviews
with past clients. Engage with people on their posts with comments and utilize Facebook Live
during events. Using Facebook stories will also more users to see what they are posting on their
page. Graduate Memphis should also invite people to like their page to increase their audience.

Twitter (@GraduateMemphis): as of 11/18/18

https://twitter.com/GraduateMemphis

- Followers: 1,342
- Following: 1,663
- Likes: 737
Last tweet was 11/26
Average Posts: 3 days to 3 months in between tweets.
Average Engagement: 0-2 likes per post/ 0-1 retweet per post

Recommendation: Tweet more often and directly engage with related companies and
organizations in the Memphis area. Twitter can also be utilized to quickly answer questions that
users may have about the organization.

LinkedIn: (Graduate Memphis) as of 11/18/18


https://www.linkedin.com/company/graduate-memphis/
- 34 followers
- Joined 2012
- Website is connected to their LinkedIn.
Average Posts: N/A
Average Engagement: N/A

Recommendation: Share and post more articles to engage with the professional users on
LinkedIn. Leadership Memphis shares articles and posts information that should be shared to
Graduate Memphis for LinkedIn users to utilize.

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Instagram: (@graduatememphis) as of 11/18/18

https://www.instagram.com/graduatememphis/

- 19 followers
Average Posts: 0
Average Engagement: N/A

Recommendation: Delete Instagram account so Graduate Memphis will not have an inactive
social media account attached to their name.

Secon
The first part of our secondary research involves analyzing the importance of social media for
public relations. With Graduate Memphis being grant-funded, the cost of campaigns needs to be
taken into account. While paid promotions could be beneficial for the organization, all basic
forms of social media marketing is free of cost. The current social media platforms associated

dary
with Graduate Memphis (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) have low engagement rates and lack
structure in the scheduling of posts (see social media analysis on page 9). An article written in
January of 2018 confirms that using social media and creating social media campaigns for
nonprofits has several benefits. Social media marketing is inexpensive, establishes relations with
the public, and involves stakeholders (Lake, 2018). It is an inexpensive way to communicate the

Resea
organization’s mission to a large audience in Memphis and surrounding areas.

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rch
11

The second portion of research looks at the college graduation rates of Memphis and surrounding
areas. According to Statistical Atlas (a site that collects its data from the U.S. Census Bureau),
from 2010 to 2016, only 15.3 percent of the Memphis population had received a bachelor’s
degree, while 23.7 percent had completed some college. This data shows us that while many
have graduated high school and pursued college at some point, many do not go on to complete
their education with a degree. If we add up the data between of the degrees obtained, this tells us
that about 31 percent of the Memphis population holds a college degree of some kind. That
leaves us with a large portion of the population to spread the word to about the organization and
the assistance it can provide in returning to college for post-secondary education.

a) Image retrieved from https://statisticalatlas.com/place/Tennessee/Memphis/Educational-Attainment

Prim
The first portion of our primary research was a survey created with Qualtrics. The purpose of the
survey was two-fold. First, we wanted to gauge the level of awareness in the Memphis area about
Graduate Memphis. Additionally, we wanted to see if respondents felt that adults in the service
area felt confident about returning to school to receive a post-secondary degree. This data not

ary
only allowed us to gauge how well Graduate Memphis was getting their name and mission out to
the public, but also allowed us to learn what obstacles adults face when they consider returning
to school. The survey was fielded April 3-6, 2018, and was distributed via Facebook. The survey
had 76 respondents and contained 15 questions that were a mix of open and closed ended,
semantic, and agreement scale. With our survey, we were able to collect the following data:

Resea
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Survey Results
• 75 out of 76 respondents had not heard of Graduate Memphis. The one person who had heard
of the organization did not elect to tell us how they knew about the organization.
• 35 of the 76 surveyed said that there are a variety of resources in Memphis to help adults
return to college and get their degree, though those resources were not specified in this survey.
• More than half the respondents (56 percent) said that anyone can return to college as an adult if
they use the resources available to them. With this data we can conclude that adults interested in
going to or returning to college will seek out resources to guide them. We need to place Graduate
Memphis in the forefront of those resources.
• Almost all of the respondents (90 percent) agreed or strongly agreed that an academic advisor
is a vital component for obtaining a college degree, while 83 percent strongly agreed or agreed
that a financial advisor is a vital component. This is an opportunity for Graduate Memphis to
better highlight these services in all forms of communication, as the public sees them as
important components for obtaining a college degree.

Key
Primary Publics:
The target audience is 25- to 60-year-old men and women of all ethnic backgrounds. They are
local Memphians who dropped out of college for a variety of reasons ranging from illness or
pregnancy to a lack of financial resources of support. Many of them are working at low-income

Pub
jobs, such as fast food service workers, entry-level admin jobs or retail, and want to earn a
degree to get a better paying job or promotion. They also are heavy users of social media (Pew
Research Center, 2018).

lics
Secondary Public: Youth (7th-12th grade)

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Our secondary public are youth in grades 7 – 12. They don’t qualify for the program yet but
should be made aware of the resources available to them as they progress toward high school
graduation. Having knowledge of and access to Graduate Memphis resources could be the
difference in these students attending college or not.
Individuals 13 years and older utilize some form of social media and could see the updated
content posted on the various channels. These individuals could be aware of their parents, older
siblings, or others who are wanting to finish their education and make them aware of Graduate
Memphis.

Key
★ Graduate Memphis is the place to turn for adults wishing to complete post-secondary
education.
○ This message aligns with our client’s goal to become the leading organization in

Mess
this arena. We want Graduate Memphis to be front-of-mind for any adult, within
the Memphis area, to further his or her education.

★ Being a grown-up and going back to school is tough but so are you, and we’ve got your
back.
○ Graduate Memphis exists for a reason. It is often difficult for adults to go to

ages school and the organization provides assistance for that reality. This message
shows understanding of the situation, compliments potential participants, states
the part the organization plays and reinforces the idea that no matter what your
circumstances, it is never too late to return to school.

Slogan: Educate the Great

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○ This campaign message reflects the goal of Graduate Memphis, to assist with
education, and refers to its participants in a positive way, by saying they are great.
While promoting the resources available from the organization, we also want to
promote a sense of ability among potential clients. Research demonstrated
circumstances as the main obstacle for adults obtaining higher education. We aim
to place a positive spin on that by pointing out the strength, persistence and ability
people gain from such circumstances, which are also required to attend school.
“Educate the Great,” in addition, is a succinct, easy to remember, easy to say
phrase that serves as our key hashtag.

Goals,
The campaign aims to help Graduate Memphis become the lead organization in Memphis
and the surrounding areas assisting adults who wish to begin or complete a post-secondary
education.

Strategies
★ Objective: Increase Facebook engagement by twenty percent in six
months, as measured by Facebook Analytics.

and
○ Strategy: Engage Memphis-area adults, without a post-
secondary education, through Facebook that Graduate
Memphis offers assistance.
■ Tactic: Create a content posting calendar
■ Tactic: Have testimonial stories on Facebook of how

Tactics
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Graduate Memphis changed their lives. How it has helped them to fulfill a
dream that seemed impossible.
15

■ Tactic: Create video content of people involved with Graduate Memphis.


Share videos and testimonials that potential students can watch and see the
human connection of this organization.
■ Tactic: Utilize Facebook live to host Q&A session to answer questions
about the program and discuss returning to school.

★ Objective: Increase Twitter engagement by thirty percent over six months, as measured
by Twitter analytics.
○ Strategy: Interact with potential participants through Twitter about the assistance
Graduate Memphis has for adults wanting to pursue a post-secondary education.
■ Tactic: Use the unique #Educatethegreat on all tweets along with others
#Graduatememphis
■ Tactic: Create a content posting calendar
■ Tactic: Tweet to local news stations, regarding any upcoming events,
such as job and education fairs, anywhere Graduate Memphis feels is
going to attend or is noteworthy.
■ Tactic: Determine products and events that are relevant to target
audience, and engage/ Tweet@ associated Twitter accounts multiple times
per week.
■ Tactic: Encourage previous successful clients to promote and share
content.
■ Tactic: Host a Twitter chat to discuss the benefits of a post-secondary
education with a unique hashtag.

★ Objective: Increase website traffic by forty percent in six months, as measured by unique
visitors.
○ Strategy: Inform Memphis-area adults, without a post-secondary education,
about services offered by Graduate Memphis to help them achieve their education
goals.
■ Tactic: Redesign the website to include more content and be user-
friendly.
■ Tactic: Make the website visible through social media platforms.
■ Tactic: Display the website URL prominently on printed media such as
brochures and flyers.
■ Tactic: Start a blog on the website that is linked from social media posts.

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★ Objective: Increase face-to-face interactions by Graduate Memphis staff with one


hundred potential participants over six months, as measured by completed information
inquiry forms.
○ Strategy: Encourage potential participants to enroll through face-to-face
discussions with Graduate Memphis staff that can help them begin or continue a
post-secondary education.
■ Tactic: Make an inquiry form for all potential clients to complete,
including an email address, information about the person, reasons for
looking at higher education and how he or she heard about the
organization. Use the contact information for follow-up calls, event
notifications and email blasts.
■ Tactic: Host one workshop every other month during the campaign.
■ Tactic: Include social media posts that feature the location and hours of
Graduate Memphis.
■ Tactic: Print the location and hours on brochures and flyers.
■ Tactic: Partner with sponsors to obtain free swag displaying logo and
contact information, for workshop attendees.
■ Tactic: Partner with local higher education institutions to gain outreach
directly to students who have dropped out.
● (a) meet with academic advisors and provide literature that can
be supplied to students they find are struggling and may need to
leave school.

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Eval
● Built-in analytics tools for Facebook and Twitter will be used to track progress in traffic,
reach, engagement, likes and followers.
● Google Analytics is recommended for tracking website traffic.

uatio
● For face-to-face interactions, inquiry forms will be given to each potential participant for
completion and can be tallied at the end of the campaign.
● A survey will be administered at the beginning and end of the campaign to gauge changes
in an overall level of awareness. This will be conducted through Qualtrics and distributed
via Facebook.

n:

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Conc
As an action initiative by Leadership Memphis, a non-profit who has already built a base of
followers, our campaign has an opportunity to reach a large target audience here in the Mid-
South. By reaching out to our target audience, we can help the organization better communicate
their message and continue free advising to both working and out-of-work adults, nontraditional
students, and parents with busy schedules.

lusio
Our campaign will increase followers and engagement on social media platforms and increase
the presence of the organization in the local community. Positive messages will be used to point
out characteristics of strength and persistence possessed by potential participants. The campaign
will encourage candidates that they have what it takes, and the Graduate Memphis organization

n:
can help them get what they need. Overall, this campaign will increase awareness of the
Graduate Memphis organization as a whole and help our target audience to think of the
organization as their first go-to resource when considering returning to college.

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Appe
The campaign is scheduled to launch January 14, 2019 and run through June 30, 2019. Two
weeks of planning have been allotted prior to the launch to set up Facebook and Twitter analytics

ndice
and develop a social media posting calendar. The last week of June has been left open to evaluate
metrics and assess the success of the campaign. The following is a calendar of strategies and
tactics:

Timeline

s:

Click here for a link to the calendar above.

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Budget

Samp
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Andrew Hill

1) Use Twitter posts to raise awareness of the services Graduate Memphis offers, promote
#EDUCATETHEGREAT and drive traffic to website and foot traffic to library location.

2) Post images,interesting facts, and other relevant media regarding educational achievements in
Memphis and surrounding areas to Twitter to raise awareness of the services Graduate Memphis
offers, promote #EDUCATETHEGREAT and drive traffic to website and foot traffic to library
location.

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Aften Locken

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1) Facebook post pushes the target audience to have face time with Graduate Memphis staff.

2) Create inquiry form to mark face-to-face meetings with potential candidates.

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Blythe Wilson

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1. Create brochures, and other marketing material, with website and other pertinent
information to hand out at events.
BROCHURE DESIGN SAMPLE:

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2. Start a blog titled, “On the Blog: Tips for Success” from the Graduate Memphis website that
can be shared to all social media outlets.

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Kate Jackson

1) Utilize Facebook live to host Q&A session to answer questions about the program and discuss
returning to school.

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2) Host educational workshops on topics regarding apply for school, financial aid, etc.

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Natalie Cooper

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1) Host a Twitter chat to discuss the benefits of a post-secondary education with a unique
hashtag.
EXAMPLE GRAPHIC FOR TWITTER CHAT:

EXAMPLE QUESTIONS FROM THE MODERATOR:

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2) Partner with sponsors to obtain free swag displaying logo and contact information, for
workshop attendees. (water bottle & stress ball example)

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Malcolm Lane

1) Have testimonial stories on Facebook of how Graduate Memphis changed their lives,
valuing the program on how it has helped them believe in themselves to fulfill a dream
that seemed impossible.

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2) Create video content of people who are involved in the program and share it on social media
platforms so others may feel connected rather than in fear.

Graduate Memphis Lonnie Duncan

Wesley Paraham

1. Create a content posting calendar.

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2. Include social media posts that feature the location and hours of Graduate Memphis.

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References:

Graduatememphis.org

Facebook: Graduate Memphis

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Twitter: @GraduateMemphis

Linkedin: Graduate Memphis

Instagram: @graduatememphis

tn.gov/collegepays

Greaney, Devin. (2016, March 19). Graduate Memphis Putting College Degrees Within Reach
for More Adults. The Daily News. Retrieved from:
https://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2016/mar/19/graduate-memphis-putting-college-
degrees-within-reach-for-more-adults/

Seltzer, R. (2017, October 25). Net Price Keeps Creeping Up. Retrieved from
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/10/25/tuition-and-fees-still-rising-faster-aid-college-
board-report-shows

Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States. (2018, February 5).
Retrieved November 18, 2018, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/

Lake, L. (2018, July 26). Social Media Marketing for Non-Profits. Retrieved from
https://www.thebalancesmb.com/social-media-marketing-benefits-for-non-profits-2295820

Images

a) Educational Attainment in Memphis, Tennessee. Graph of data. Retrieved Nov. 24, 2018
from https://statisticalatlas.com/place/Tennessee/Memphis/Educational-Attainment

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