UH graduation initiative on national stage

University of Hawaiʻi
Jodi Leong, (808) 492-0597
Dir of Communications, External Affairs and University Relations
Posted: Apr 9, 2013

The University of Hawai'i System's "15 to Finish" team took the spotlight on the national stage today, at the Complete College America (CCA) conference in Denver, Colorado.


The CCA, a non-profit national alliance of 33 states, invited the UH to serve as a national model for its highly successful "15 to Finish" campaign that encourages students to take 15 or more credits each semester and graduate on time -- two years for an associates degree and four years for a baccalaureate degree.


"It was such an honor. This team has been working on this for over a year and a half, and to be asked to come here and share it with these 22 states and the District of Columbia is a real tribute to our ten campus effort.  To think that what we've done in Hawai'i is going to inform these states -- we should all be so proud," said Linda Johnsrud, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, UH System.


The aggressive "15 to Finish" publicity and advertising campaign resulted in significant increases in the number of UH freshmen taking 15 or more credits.  In the fall of 2011, only 15 percent of UH freshmen across the state took 15 or more credits.  That increased to 24 percent one year later, following the campaign.


UH Manoa saw an increase from 38 percent to 56 percent.


"It's always hard to get large numbers of students to do something different.  So that makes it even more significant what the University of Hawai'i has done.  And that's one of the reasons that we call it a game changer, because they're moving the numbers significantly.  That's why all these states came through a blizzard to get here to listen to the Hawai'i team and learn about their program," said Stan Jones, CCA president.


"The University of Hawai'i System is really a model that we're using across the country.  We have 22 states and the District of Columbia that are extremely interested in launching a "15 to Finish" campaign in their own states, and Hawai'i is going to lead the way," Jones said.


Johnsrud's "15 to Finish" team also includes Pearl Iboshi, Director, Institutional Research and Analysis; Joanne Itano, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Joanne Taira, Senior Executive for International/Strategic Initiatives; and Teri Yamashige, Communications Specialist for Hawai'i P-20.


"But although we did the campaign, we were building on the foundations laid by each of our ten campuses to make this possible," Johnsrud said.