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With an eye toward increasing access to the California Community Colleges and improving the student experience, a large-scale effort is underway to redesign the system’s online college application, known as CCCApply. 

The Chancellor’s Office, the CCC Technology Center, and the Foundation for California Community Colleges, in collaboration with the community colleges, and in partnership ideas42, are collaborating to redesign the CCCApply experience with a student-centered approach in mind, applying behavioral science to inform design and practices to reduce subtle barriers that hinder students’ progress through the early phases of matriculation and educational path-choosing. Our effort is to make system-wide student facing technologies and interventions feel cohesive, connected, and relevant while streamlining the collection of student data to reduce fatigue, repetition, intimidation, and confusion. 

Short-term activities such as reducing the number of questions in CCCApply and creating a simpler application for noncredit students that began last spring has been bolstered by the passage of Assembly Bill 3101.

Read MoreStudent-centered design in action

Driver: AB 3101

The CCC Chancellor’s Office is driving the changes to ensure CCCApply supports students through the community college application and enrollment process, and is targeting development and implementation of the redesigned system in fall of 2019.

The passage of AB 3101 gave us the latitude we needed to deliver a modified version of CCCApply for our noncredit student population. Our goal is to find balance in what is asked of the student that is applying for college while still collecting all of the information required for state and federal reporting purposes. Lifting the requirement for uniform residency determination for all students allows us to look at other questions and steps that might be omitted at the time of application. 


The legislation cites the following:

  • On average, the application process takes a student 45 minutes to complete due to the amount of information it requests.
  • The state has documented an average abandonment rate of 5 percent, and ranging up to 14 percent at some community colleges, in regards to the number of students who begin the application process, but fail to complete it.

AB 3101 mandates that “only data that is required by the federal government, state law, or that is otherwise necessary, as determined by the chancellor, is collected during the process.” It further prescribes that supplemental student data should be collected only after the student has applied to a community college. Students seeking to enroll in career development, college preparation, and other noncredit courses would be exempt from residency classification requirements. Colleges would be reimbursed for additional costs imposed by the state mandate.

Read More: CCCApply Noncredit Application - Soft-launch to the Pilot environment begins February 15, 2019.

Project Summary

The project is applying behavioral science to inform a more student-centered design that is simpler, streamlined, and improves overall usability.  

While the majority of students have a positive experience with CCCApply, all aspects of the online application process are being reviewed for potential improvement. This focus includes identifying and removing barriers for noncredit and other special populations that will decrease abandonment and increase successful application rates.

  • Redesign Workgroup: A workgroup of diverse stakeholders have been meeting bi-weekly since June 2018 under the direction of the Chancellor's Office.  Information is being assembled in a dashboard here.

  • Behavioral Study:  Ideas42 is currently conducting a study on CCCApply to discover and reduce barriers that hinder students' progress through the application & early phases of matriculation. Applying their design principles, a final recommendations report will help inform the short- and long-term redesign process including reducing clicks, minimizing questions,

  • Phased-Approach: From a design & development perspective, the redesign effort is broken into two phases: 1) short-term, a series of "low-hanging fruit" changes intended to shorten and streamline the current version of CCCApply; and 2) long-term, holistic, rebuilding of the application back-end and user interface based on the overarching objectives of the system's goal to make student facing technologies and interventions feel cohesive, connected, and relevant while streamlining the collection of student data to reduce fatigue, repetition, intimidation, and confusion.
  • Iterative Releases: Changes to CCCApply will be iterative and the overall redesign plan includes professional development, training, support, and consideration towards the impact on college operations, including the opportunity to solicit feedback.

  • Stakeholders & Advisors: CCCApply Steering/Advisory Committee,
  • Redesign Workgroup Members:  


    Omid Pourzanjani; Deb Barker-Garcia; Bryan Miller; Tim Calhoon; Julia Arreguy; Craig Hayward; Lou Delzompo; Emily Gerofsky; Emily Robinson; John Helmer (Unicon); Lu, Tonia; Laura Metune; Michelle Pena; Mitch Leahy; Mike Caruso; Stephanie Murguia; Patricia Donohue; Michael Quiaoit; Randy Tillery; Andrea Reynolds; Rita Gorgan; Rob Rundquist; Justin Salenik; Tessa Carmen DeRoy; Paul Feist; Tina King

Project Objectives

In order to meet the goals and timeline in AB 3101, the redesign project is being approached in two design and development phases: 1) a short-term redesign phase which includes a series of enhancements to the current application, as well as the development and implementation of a residency-free noncredit application; and 2) a long-term phase which includes collaboration with stakeholders to rebuild CCCApply from the back-end and user interface based on the overarching objectives of the system's goal to make student facing technologies and interventions feel cohesive, connected, and relevant.

The approval of all business requirements will be guided by the CCCTC, collaborative stakeholder groups, and the Chancellor’s Office.

The development team will continue to keep the field updated on the progress of the CCCApply redesign.  

titleRedesign Phases

The CCCApply Redesign project is broken into two phases: 1) Short-term: immediate response to AB3101 through a series of "low-hanging fruit" changes such as reformatting and removing questions, consolidating pages, and adding smarter skip logic, and reformatting  intended to shorten and streamline the current version of the application, and implementation of a 'residency-determination free" noncredit path via CCCApply; and 2) Long-term: a holistic, rebuilding of the application back-end and user interface based on the overarching objectives of the system's goal to make student facing technologies and interventions feel cohesive, connected, and relevant.

Deployment Timeline

Changes to CCCApply will be iterative across FY18/19 and beyond. The short-term phase calls for four quarterly releases through June 2019. 

Redesign Release 1:  September 2018

  • Removed the logic from the Date of Birth field that prevented children under age 13 to create an OpenCCC account
  • Removed the Social Security Number Encouragement Language pop-up reminder
  • Removed Introduction page - Application starts on Enrollment page
  • Revised the existing self-reported Multiple Measures questions for AB705
  • Removed Review Application page*
  • Combined Review App, Consent page & Submission page into one page
  • Renamed & Move the Demographic (Personal) Info page to later in the application
  • Implemented Apply to MyPath auto-direct after submission

Redesign Release 2:  December 2018

  • User-Interface Styles Refresh / Alignment with MyPath
    Refreshed the user interface across the OpenCCC and CCCApply applications to align the look & feel with the MyPath student services portal
  • 2018 Race & Ethnicity Disaggregation
    Implemented new Race & Ethnicity Expansion layout and format changes on the Demographic Information page of the Standard & International applications

Redesign Release 3:  March 2019

  • Enhance the Residency Page with skip logic 
  • Enhance the Education Page with skip logic
  • Soft launch: Noncredit Application (Phase 1: Development) 

Redesign Release 4:  June 2019

  • Noncredit Application (Production release)
  • Make Needs & Interests page "optional" to all colleges
  • Enhance layout of the Account Information/Mailing Page
  • Approved change requests & bug fixes*
  • SuperGlue for CCCApply - International Application Data Set
  • SuperGlue for CCCApply - CC Promise Grant Data Set
  • Technical Maintenance:  Java Upgrade (Download Client Jar Update)

Redesign Release 5:  October 2019

  • Responsive-design, mobile support for all CCCApply Applications

    • Standard Application

    • Noncredit Application

    • CC Promise Grant

    • Internatonal Application

Redesign Release 6: March 2020

  • Responsive-design, mobile support for OpenCCC Student Account (Legacy)
  • Internationalization: Spanish-Language for CCCApply Standard & Noncredit 
  • Internationalization; Spanish-Language for CC Promise Grant
  • Internationalization; Spanish-Language for International Application
  • Internationalization; Spanish-Language for OpenCCC Student Account (Legacy)
  • Revised Social Security Number Question: Layout & Language

Project Roadmap

Also see: Phase 1 Redesign Development Roadmap

Roadmap Planner
pagelinksRelease 6.2.0 Summary Notes~~~~~Release 6.4.0 Summary Notes~~~~~Release 6.5.0 Summary Notes~~~~~Release 6.3.0 Summary Notes

Phase 1: Short-Term Redesign

The goal of the first phase of the redesign project is to respond to AB 3101 immediately by implementing as many "low-hanging fruit" change enhancements as possible while working on the project charter and work plan for the long-term redesign with the Chancellor's Office and workgroup collaborators. The objectives are to look for opportunities to streamline and shorten the application by adding skip logic, and removing pages and questions that are not required to be collected at the time of application by state, federal, or local laws and regulations - as mandated in the legislation.

Changes would be rolled out over a series of quarterly deployments throughout FY18/19. 

The approval of all business requirements will be guided by the CCCTC, collaborative stakeholder groups, and the Chancellor’s Office.

The development team will continue to keep the field updated on the progress of the CCCApply redesign.

Noncredit Application - Project Phases

In addition to the streamline work being completed during the short-term phase, the team will begin development and implementation of a 'residency-determination free" noncredit application path within the Standard Application. The first phase of this project (development) will be rolled out in a soft launch release to the Pilot environment for extended user acceptance testing with 6-8 colleges.  Read about the Noncredit Application Path project here.

Objectives & Outcomes

  • Identify opportunities to simplify, streamline, and improve the student experience and overall usability of the current application
  • Implement a residency-exempt path within the Standard application for noncredit students
  • Revise, remove and/or hide questions and pages that are not required to be collected at the time of application by local, state, or federal mandate;
  • Deploy changes iteratively throughout FY18/19 (quarterly)
  • Review and incorporate approved recommendations by Ideas42 and CO per our confirmed release schedule
  • CO-required branding and styles upgrade to existing application

Phase 2: Long-Term Redesign

One of the objectives of the redesign effort thus far has been identifying the gaps in the matriculation process, before and after the application process. Without a structured transition from application to registration activities, many potential students are not completing the enrollment process after application. 

The second phase of this redesign project includes a holistic rebuilding of the CCCApply application from the back-end architectural design to the user interface using the research-based review and revalidation of existing features discovered in the initial redesign effort. 

Planned Objectives & Projected Outcomes

The extent of the long-term phase in the FY18/19 fiscal year is limited to identifying, documenting, and getting approval on the holistic vision and business requirements. Professional development, training, support, and consideration towards the impact on college operations, including the opportunity to solicit feedback will also be factored into the redesign implementation.

At the end of this fiscal year, we intend to have a clear vision for the holistic redesign of CCCApply, documented and approved with groomed business requirements for the following objectives:

  • Micro-services-based (generic) form engine back-end, fully integrated with MyPath
    • Validation services for Apply, Promise Grant, International
    • Workflow definitions for Apply, Promise Grant, International
    • Split out certain functionality (e.g. residency calculation) into micro-services
  • Component-based front-end integration with MyPath
  • APi web service to accept Application data
  • Mobile-phone capability for CCCApply
  • Student-centric design supporting multiple languages and advanced support services (real-time chat)
  • Replacement of the Download Client with SuperGlue-based SIS-integration

The development of business requirements will include collaboration with internal and external stakeholders* and will focus on re-examination and evaluation of current features and functionality.needed based on research-based, quantifiable data.


Development work for the long-term redesign phase is out of scope for this year (FY18/19) and is expected to span multiple fiscal years.