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Education Planning Tool and Degree Audit System Steering CommitteeThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Education Planning Initiative (EPI) Pilot Colleges announced the selection of Hobsons as their Education Planning Tools and Degree Audit System (EPT/DAS) vendor.


In December, a Request for Proposal was posted that sought software that would integrate across student information systems, had the ability to scale, was easy to use for students, staff, and faculty, and would be intuitive, effective and fluid for students to plan and prepare their education and degree audits.

“After some thoughtful discussions a decision was made to the satisfaction of all members," said Cynthia Rico, EPT/DAS Steering Committee Chair from San Diego Mesa College. “The EPT/DAS committee was very mindful of the needs of Counseling faculty, Admissions and Records and Information Technology personnel to build an educational planning tool and degree audit system.”

Structured, Streamlined Pathways

Hobsons will work with the EPI team and its steering committee to develop a product that will structure and streamline the pathway students take to achieve success through their college experience. As an education solutions company, Hobsons is dedicated to assisting the needs not only of students, but also staff, faculty and administrators. The company recently announced the acquisition of Starfish Retention Solutions, a provider of higher-education student success and advising tools. The acquisition is an exciting addition to an already successful product suite established by Hobsons.

“We are pleased to make Hobsons our choice to deliver EPI’s comprehensive Degree Audit and Educational Planning Tool to the California Community Colleges,” said Norberto Quiroz, EPT/DAS Steering Committee Member from Santa Rosa Junior College. “Hobsons has the tools to provide students and student services practitioners with the opportunity to access planning and degree audits with which they can plan for their short- and long-term academic goals before meeting with a counselor, and with counselor approval, create comprehensive educational plans, access courses, register, submit petitions and more.”

Pilot implementation at the 10 colleges is slated to roll out this summer and the product is scheduled to be available to the remaining 102 community colleges beginning in 2016.

Angel Jimenez, EPI Student Services Portal Steering CommitteeStatewide Student Portal Sprinting to Success

In other news, the statewide Student Services Portal is taking shape. Our vendor Unicon Inc. is making significant progress toward transforming the requirements that the Student Services Portal Steering Committee (SSPSC) has provided thus far, and is refining them into a product that is functional and friendly.

The Unicon team uses an Agile development methodology, which breaks down the work into two-week “sprints” based on the priority of the committee. The team is currently finishing its sixth sprint. As the committee gets deeper into the requirements, additional functionality and specifications will only enhance the experience EPI sees the portal providing for the students.

Future Developments

On the horizon are two additional Requests for Proposal from EPI. An Online Orientation RFP and a Self Assessment and Career Exploration Tool RFP will be going forward in early April. Once the developments have solidified, these tools will be made available to students through the statewide Student Services Portal and be integrated with college systems that wish to utilize them.

Upcoming Outreach Events

If you will be attending conferences, please seek out an EPI team member for additional information. We will be present at the following upcoming conferences:

March 11-13: CCCCSSAA 2015 Spring Conference
March 13-14: ASCCC 2015 Academic Academy
April 9-11: ASCCC 2015 Spring Plenary

Robyn Tornay is a project manager for Education Planning and Student Services at the
California Community Colleges Technology Center.