Versailles, Ky. FAFSA. SAP. FERPA. Matriculation. Default. These terms are used frequently in higher education, but to prospective students they sound like a foreign language. A new initiative of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is removing these and other barriers to help students understand what they're reading when visiting the KCTCS website.

Even though each KCTCS college has its own website, research showed ktcs.edu has more than 10 million visits each year from current and prospective students. KCTCS also found the site navigation and content was not as friendly to students as it should be. To remedy that, KCTCS split the site into two sites one for students (kctcs.edu) and one for the operations side of supporting the colleges (systemoffice.kctcs.edu).

To help KCTCS engage better with students, the website copy and other content has been changed to be more student friendly. The new writing style is based on research that showed prospective students are overwhelmed and apprehensive about college. The goal of this content change is to put students at ease and make them feel they belong at a KCTCS college.

"This gives current and prospective students information in an easily accessible format that quickly helps them find what they need and is written in a way they can understand and relate to," said KCTCS President Jay K. Box. "Even though students are our first priority, we still need a place for conducting the system's business, which is now in a different location."

The new System Office site includes financial and business services information, leadership information, giving options and system initiatives. It is where job seekers, vendors, business partners, government partners and others will find the information they need to work with KCTCS. The site includes a faculty and staff area as well.

All work on the website split, voice development and content was created by the KCTCS Marketing and Web teams from across the state. The next step will be to make similar changes to the 16 college sites.