UH leads Hawaii's participation in national college completion initiative

Hawaii pledges to significantly increase college completion rates by 2020

University of Hawaiʻi
Jeanne Mariani-Belding, (808) 956-9803
External Affairs & University Relations, University of Hawaii System
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations, University of Hawaii System
Posted: Mar 2, 2010

HONOLULU – Signifying its intent to take the bold action necessary to increase college completion rates, Hawai‘i has joined with the national nonprofit organization Complete College America to set degree goals and develop and implement aggressive state and campus-level action plans to meet those goals.
For states and the country to be competitive, six of 10 adults between the ages of 25 and 35 will need to hold a postsecondary degree or credential of value in the labor market by 2020. The University of Hawai‘i will lead the state’s participation in Complete College America in its national effort to achieve this goal.
“Hawai‘i has a unique integrated system of public higher education and participation in Complete College America fits in line perfectly with our efforts to ensure access, affordability and success in higher education for Hawai‘i’s students,” said UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “This opportunity also supports initiatives we have already established, including our Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative announced last month that is aimed at increasing the number of college degrees awarded by 25 percent by the year 2015.”
Hawai‘i, along with 16 other states, form the Complete College Alliance of states, a select group of leading states committed to significantly increasing the number of students successfully completing college and closing attainment gaps for traditionally underserved populations.  States currently in the Alliance in addition to Hawai‘i include Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
“Hawai‘i’s economic future depends upon our state being able to transition to a skills-based economy,” said Governor Linda Lingle. “Despite limited resources at this time, we are committed to innovation and improvement in our public education system and to aligning our economic, workforce development and education policies to achieve better outcomes for our students and our state. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in Complete College America.”
As part of the initiative, UH President M.R.C. Greenwood will lead a team of leaders to advance the Complete College America policy agenda and to coordinate local initiatives within the Complete College America agenda. In addition to Greenwood, the Hawai‘i team members include:
  • John Morton, vice president for community colleges, University of Hawai‘i;
  • Brother Bernie Ploeger, president, Chaminade University;
  • Ted Liu, director, Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism;
  • Senator Jill Tokuda, chair, Hawai‘i State Senate Committee on Higher Education
  • Representative Jerry Chang, chair, Hawai‘i House of Representatives Committee on Higher Education;
  • Kathryn Matayoshi, interim superintendent of schools, Hawai‘i Department of Education;
  • James Hardway, executive director, Hawai‘i Workforce Development Council; and
  • Tammi Chun, executive director, Hawai‘i P-20.
Complete College America will provide Hawai‘i with in-depth technical support from America’s leading experts on improving college success, including assistance in building consensus for reform, developing policy action plans, guidance on applying for and effectively using federal funding to produce more degrees, and annual networking opportunities.
Five national foundations are providing multi-year support to Complete College America, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation for Education.
“The long-term economic growth of any state is tied to the educational attainment of its citizens,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America. “States like Hawai‘i are taking the lead in addressing this serious national issue head on. The implications of ‘business as usual’ are too great not to act. That’s why the leadership taken by Governor Lingle and UH President M.R.C. Greenwood will have such a profound impact in Hawai‘i and beyond.”
For more information about Complete College America, visit www.completecollege.org.