students in graduation garb and lei

Through the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative, UH System students are encouraged to take 15 credits per semester to graduate on time.

The University of Hawaiʻi System encourages full-time students at any of its two- or four-year campuses to take 15 credits per semester to graduate on time.

It’s all part of the university’s Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 25 percent by the year 2015.

To achieve this goal, UH hopes to encourage students to graduate on time, save tuition money and start their careers as quickly as possible simply by registering for more credits per semester.

“A student who takes only 12 credits per semester at a UH campus is technically a ‘full-time’ student,” explains Linda Johnsrud, UH executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “That student, however, will not earn a two-year degree in two years or a four-year degree in four years. Plus the four-year degree may cost as much as $12,000 more because the student isn’t taking advantage of the tuition cap.”

Many UH System students have or will be receiving information on the benefits of enrolling in more classes as part of their registration or new-student orientation materials. UH students are able to add classes right up until the first day of classes on August 20.

Read the news release or visit the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative website for more information.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. So how is the UH system going to adapt to this? We can’t just add on classes if we still have the lack of sections offered per class. For this “15” credit/semester to be a solution, the UH System needs to allow this change by offering more sections at more times. We have so many students and yet the number of slots per section is limited. Students have to push back their graduation date for other reasons, not just because we choose to take 12 credits or less. It’s things like limited number of seats available, registration errors, limited number of sections per semester, classes not being offered every semester but only once a year or on certain semesters (inconsistently, whenever a professor is available to teach it, etc), etc. They are pushing students to take on more credits per semester, but what is the UH System going to change to make this easier for us?! How are THEY changing? I bet the people considering this “15” trick a solution don’t even know how tight registration can be… ask the student body–would we think of this as a solution to shortening our college plan? I want to hear both sides.

    1. We shared your concerns with administrators who are implementing the “15 to Finish” campaign, and here is their response:

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your concerns. We acknowledge that there have been issues with class availability at certain times, but we have worked hard to address these issues.

      We encourage you to see your academic advisor and work with him or her to map out a plan to ensure that you can complete your degree on time. Your advisor can help you develop the plan that allows you to earn the required credits toward degree completion and may suggest alternate courses that will help you earn your degree in a timely manner.

      To access the advisors and counselors on your campus, please visit: In addition to working with your advisor, you may contact the staff in the Academic Affairs office at your campus. We would like to learn more about what you are experiencing so we can make UH a better place for all of our students.

  2. i don’t see 15 credits working. i thought students now had to pay for every credit over 12. plus some classes are not available to take until 2 years from now when the tuition will be much higher. whoever is scheduling some of these classes are smart because they make the classes only available when it’s the most expensive during the summer and when the tuition will increase years from now.

    how am i suppose to graduate on time or afford to pay for these classes when my subsidized loans are being cut?

    1. For clarification, students at the four-year campuses pay a per-credit fee for 1-11 credits and a flat fee for 12 or more credits. Students at the community colleges pay a per-credit fee regardless of how may credits they enroll in. For the 2012-2013 academic year, tuition at the community colleges is just $101 per credit.

      Your academic advisor can help you plan out your course sequence for your degree program and address your concerns about when courses are available.

      Also, numerous scholarships and grants are available for students attending all 10 UH campuses. Visit the university’s financial aid webpage – – for more information about scholarships and grants you may be eligible for.

  3. I think this idea really discriminates against students who, for different reasons, cannot possibly take 15 credits per semester. Disabled students like myself, non traditional students, students supporting themselves through college, all have so many other things going on in their lives that taking even 12 credits per semester is asking too much. Stop looking down on students just because they do not earn their degrees in the intended time frame.

  4. Is there room in this plan for quality? Professors tell their students at the start of the semester that it takes time to do well, that for each hour in class they should spend a minimum of 4 hours working outside of class. It is my observation, as a non traditional student, that a lot of my fellow students spend their time juggling their classes instead of concentrating on the classes themselves. In the end, college is about doing the minimum amount of work to still pass a class in order to graduate “on time”. Is the mission of UH just to hand out degrees or to educate well rounded students?

  5. So… blame the student body for the decline in registration (UHMC) or the low graduation rate compared to mainland campuses, right? The problem lies within the school itself. There needs to be more courses offered at different times. Give more options to those students that have to work, students that have children to raise, and disabled students. The problem is not that students do not take enough classes to graduate. Students, like myself, can only take enough courses that our jobs and situations allow. The problem lies within the UH bureaucratic system; limited class time offerings, weak retention programs, and too much attention paid to expensive concerts and failing sports programs. Shouldn’t the focus be on helping students pass the classes they take? Asking students to take on more classes is only going to lead to education overload, which will lead to lower grades, causing students to drop classes, which will then keep students from graduating and possibly quitting school altogether. UH needs to cater to us; after all, it is our money that pays their salaries. It seems that the UH administration is the one that needs to be re-evaluated, not the student body.

  6. I wish they would be more honest. The whole reason for moving to 15 credits is because of the federal loan guarantee being cut; which caused many students close to finishing their degree unable to do so. That was not good for UH or any other school across the country because it showed less students graduating. By taking 15 credits (if you’re lucky enough to find the classes you need), you’re paying a huge chunk to the school (i.e., ridiculous tution) – not other things, such as housing, books, HUGE fees, etc. So, the school benefits because they got your money but you’ve got the debt.

    IF we stop and take a look at why large institutions (of any kind) try to sell us on these lies, we’ll see the underlining message is MONEY! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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