The Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative’s 15 to Finish campaign encourages University of Hawaiʻi students to take 15 credits per semester (or 30 credits per year) to graduate on time.
Fall 2015 marked the third fall semester of the 15 to Finish initiative at the University of Hawai‘i campuses. For the UH system, first-time freshmen taking 15 or more credits systemwide increased in fall 2015 to 30.7%, the highest percentage so far measured. Rates were highest at UH Mānoa (64.4%), followed by UH West O‘ahu (52.4%), UH Hilo (38.2%) and the UH Community Colleges (15.8%).
The UH Community College campus with the highest percentage of first-time freshmen taking 15 or more credits in fall 2015 was UH Maui College (20.5%), followed by Kaua‘i CC (18.2%), Hawai‘i CC (17.3%); Honolulu CC (17.0%), Leeward CC (15.6%), Windward CC (13.0%) and Kapi‘olani CC (12.9%).
Compared to Fall 2013 the percent of first time freshman (FTF) who enrolled in 15 or more credits in Fall 2014 has remained stable (55.5%). UH Mānoa continues to increase with 63.2% of their FTF enrolled in 15 or more credits. UH Hilo has remained stable and UH West Oʻahu declined in the percent of their FTF enrolled in 15 or more credits. The UH Community Colleges increased slightly to 13% of FTF enrolled in 15 or more credits.
The percent of undergraduates across the UH System enrolled in 15 or more credits has remained steady at about 25.6%.
First year retention of FTF (Fall 2013) enrolled in 15 or more credits was 80.6% at any UH campus and 75.9% at the home campus in fall 2014. At UH Mānoa, the first year retention was 84.7% at any UH campus and 81.9% at UHM (slightly higher than 79% for all FTFT). At UH Hilo the retention rate was 80.6% at any UH campus and 70.4% at UHH (higher than the retention rate of all FTFT freshman of 66%). For UH West Oʻahu, the retention rate was 86.5% at any UH campus and 69% at the home campus compared to 61% for all FTFT freshman. The same trend was seen at the UH Community Colleges where 72.5% of FTF enrolled in 15 or more credits in Fall 2013, returned in Fall 2014 to one of the UH campuses and 66.9% returned to the home campus (60% was the first year retention for FTFT freshman).
Growth in the number of students enrolling in 15 or more credits continues across all 10 UH campuses. Currently, over 25% of all undergraduate students (11,252 of 44,652) systemwide are enrolled in 15 or more credits resulting in a 5.2% increase on top of the 14.7% increase experienced last year.
Over 56% of first-time freshmen at the four-year campuses are enrolled in 15 or more credits. At UH Mānoa, 61.3% of first-time freshmen are on their way to completing their degree on time by enrolling in 15 or more credits. Windward Community College enrolled 23.5% of their freshmen in 15 or more credits, an astounding increase compared to 2011 when only 1.5% of their freshmen enrolled in 15 or more credits.
All campuses experienced an increase in the number of undergraduate students enrolled in 15 or more credits (systemwide 10,699 students enrolled in 15 or more credits in fall 2012 versus 9,326 students in fall 2011, a 14.7% increase).
The share of first-time freshmen taking 15 or more credits at the four-year campuses showed significant increases in fall 2012 when compared to fall 2011. At UH Mānoa, the increase in the share of first-time freshmen taking 15 or more credits was 17.2%; for UH Hilo, the increase was 12.3%; and at UH West O‘ahu, the increase was 26.7%. The UH Community Colleges also saw an increase in the share of first-time freshmen taking 15 or more credits (4.6%).
Since the launch of the 15 to Finish campaign, along with complementary campus initiatives, the percentage of students enrolled in 15 or more credits increased by nearly 20% at the four-year campuses and over 6% at the community colleges. Data also demonstrated that students taking 15 credits or more persisted at higher rates at all campuses than students taking fewer than 15 credits.
A survey of undergraduates enrolled in 12-14 credits in fall 2012 indicated that 15 to Finish promotions are reaching target audiences as 70% of freshmen responders stated that they have heard of the 15 to Finish campaign. Respondents still chose to take less than 15 credits with more than 50% of freshmen respondents citing that “it was not their intention to take 15 or more credits” (27.5%) and their “personal schedule does not allow” for such an academic schedule (24.9%).
Another survey was conducted for students enrolled in 12-14 credits in fall 2013. Findings indicate the top reasons freshmen responders cited for not enrolling in 15 or more credits was their “personal schedule prevents them from enrolling in more credits” (25.7%) and that “15 credits is too heavy of a load” (22.2%). The survey also showed that fewer than 5% of the freshmen responders stated that they did not hear about the 15 to Finish campaign. Details of the surveys can be found below.
Data on first-time students attending UH’s two and four-year campuses from fall 2009 to fall 2012 confirm that students who took 15 or more credit hours performed better than those who took less than 15 credits across nearly all levels of academic preparation.