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15 to Finish

The Challenge: Far too many Hoosiers start college and never finish and most do not graduate on time.

  • Only 3 in 10 Hoosiers complete a bachelor’s degree on time (within four years) and less than 1 in 10 earns an associate degree on time (within two years).
  • An additional year of college can cost students nearly $50,000 in extra tuition, lost wages and related costs.
  • Taking longer to complete not only means that students pay more, it also dramatically decreases the chances that they will graduate at all.

The Opportunity: Increasing the percentage of students who complete 15 credit hours each semester could dramatically improve college completion rates in Indiana.

  • In Indiana, the majority of four-year bachelor’s degree programs are 120 credits and two-year associate degrees are 60 credits.
  • Only half of Hoosier college students are taking 30 or more credits per year, yet 75 percent of these students expect to graduate on time.
  • Data show that college students who complete at least 15 credits per semester are more likely to graduate on time, perform better academically and save money on their college degree.

The Strategy: Based on a successful initiative developed by the University of Hawaii system, Indiana is launching a statewide “15 to Finish” campaign to help Hoosier students and families understand the importance and benefits of completing 15 credits per semester.

Using targeted PSAs, print publications and social media, the effort employed a three-tiered strategy:

  • Early awareness (prospective college students): “15 to Finish” messaging and related materials are being incorporated into the state’s outreach efforts through Learn More Indiana. These resources will be supplemented by new 30-second and 2-minute “15 to Finish” videos and brochures.
  • On-campus (current college students): Indiana’s public colleges and universities—and many private colleges—have agreed to incorporate the “15 to Finish” messaging and materials into their student orientation and advising practices.
  • Statewide media (parents, families and general public): To better leverage the in-school and on-campus efforts described above, the “15 to Finish” campaign should integrate a targeted paid media component to generate greater awareness and action on the part of students, families and community partners.

The Results: More Hoosier students are taking and completing enough credits (30+ per year) to graduate on time since the launch of the 15 to Finish campaign and state financial aid reforms were enacted in 2013-2014.

  • Indiana's College Completion Reports provide a clearer and more comprehensive picture of college completion in order to advance Indiana’s collective efforts to boost education attainment.

Visit LearnMoreIndiana.org for more information.

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