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Friday, October 5, 2012
15 to Finish: More UH Students on Track to Complete Degree on Time
By News Release @ 3:51 PM :: 6281 Views :: Energy, Environment

News Release from UH

Following a system wide “15 to Finish” campaign, a higher percentage of incoming freshman students at the University of Hawaii’s campuses statewide registered to earn 15 or more credits for the Fall 2012 semester than freshmen who entered the UH system last year.

This increase puts these new students on track to complete college on time, whether they are earning associate’s or bachelor’s degrees.

At the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus, 55.5 percent of first-time freshmen signed up for 15 or more credits this year, a 17.2 percentage point increase from the previous year.

UH Hilo experienced an increase of 12.3 percentage points, while UH West Oahu saw an increase of 26.7 percentage points.

The UH Community Colleges increased their percentage of freshmen taking 15 or more credits by 4.6 percentage points.

“We are pleased to see that every UH campus experienced a strong increase in freshman students earning 15 credits this semester,” said UH Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost Linda Johnsrud.

“Although our campaign was particularly targeted to freshman, there was a 14.7 percent increase in the number of students taking 15 or more credits system wide,” Johnsrud said. “We are actively working on changing people’s perception of a full-time student from one that earns 12 credits to one that earns 15 credits per semester because this is the only way a student can graduate on time and more quickly enter the workforce or pursue graduate or professional education.”

Studies have shown students at different levels of academic preparation who earn 30 credits per year are more likely to graduate, earn better grades, continue to the next semester, and complete more of their courses.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau data also reveals that total personal income increases greatly with higher levels of education.

“In fact, Hawaii residents who graduate with a bachelor’s degree earn just over $52,000 on average – nearly $20,000 more than someone with only some college experience. Those with an associate’s degree earn on average $10,000 more per year” Johnsrud said.

The benefits for the individual student are clear. By graduating on time, students save on the cost of tuition, books, fees, housing and living expenses.

Students at four-year campuses may save as much as $12,000 in tuition if they take 15 credits per semester because they pay tuition on only the first 12 credits. They can incur less debt, go to graduate school, travel, or start their careers earlier.

The communications campaign “15 to Finish” was launched throughout the UH System in Spring of 2012 to encourage students to earn 15 credits per semester and to raise awareness about the fact that, on average, full-time students take 5.8 years to earn a four-year degree and 5.6 years to earn a two-year degree.

The campaign is part of the Hawaii Graduation Initiative, one of three system wide strategic initiatives introduced by UH President M.R.C. Greenwood in her “State of the University of Hawaii System” address in February 2010.

The goal of the Hawaii Graduation Initiative is to increase the number of UH graduates by 25 percent by the year 2015. The 15 to Finish campaign was complemented by campus’ efforts to promote enrolling in 15 credits through mandatory advising, new student orientations, first year experiences, predetermined 15 credit schedules for freshman and the campus’ campaigns of “Do it in Four” or “Do it in Two.”

For more information on 15 to Finish, visit For more information on the Hawaii Graduation Initiative, visit


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