May 1, 2017
Five #15toFinish Websites to Inspire Your Campaign
It seems like every day the staff here at Complete College America learns of another institution that is launching (or preparing to launch) a 15 to Finish initiative for their students. Higher education leaders, academic advisors, and even community groups are bought in, sharing important info about what it takes to graduate on time and the sometimes unknown economic implications of choosing to stay on campus longer.
We know momentum is building around this effort: more than 30 states now have 15 to Finish campaigns happening within their borders; CCA is working with eight states in 2017 on scaled implementation of the strategy; and partner organizations are adding to the evidence on the power of full-time enrollment.
As you’re thinking about launching your own campaign, we thought we’d share some of the great websites (and associated resources) that states and institutions are using to spread the word to their students:
The University of Akron
When it comes to innovative approaches to #15toFinish, we have to start with the University of Akron. Their Finish in Time campaign uses an infomercial video to make the case to students. The two characters (who happen to be employees at UA) have been with the campaign since its inception, releasing updated videos where they often up the incentives for students. Take a look:
The University of Akron: Finish in Time
In addition to the infomercial, Akron lays out “Three ways it pays to take 15 credit hours or more per semester:” money saved during semesters, money saved by avoiding extra years in college, and the salary lost from extra years in college. Each category includes a chart showing actual dollar amounts to better conceptualize the savings of on-time graduation. The website also gives other ways to ensure timely graduation, including links to summer courses and the university’s Express to Success program, which are recommended for students with prior work or military experience.
The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s effort, Finish in 4, outlines the financial benefits of taking 15 credits per semester for both bachelor’s and associate degrees. Visuals include a video about the importance of advising and a timeline that represents how much money students lose for each extra year in college. Students are also given action steps to review with their advisors, including creating an academic map for each year and ensuring that required courses are taken early.
Mississippi’s broader website, Rise Up MS, provides a wide range of additional planning tools – from college application information and financial aid resources to a customized Finish in 4 game that helps students better understand the initiative and internalize the principles.
Indiana’s statewide 15 to Finish effort includes a brief video to inspire students to finish on time, pointing to the savings associated with timely completion and the quicker entry into careers. The site also walks students through strategies, in addition to credit accumulation, that help decrease time to degree, including choosing the right major, taking summer courses when needed, or earning college credits at other institutions to ensure a strong start.
Complete College Georgia, an initiative of the University System of Georgia, launched its 15 to Finish campaign as part of a broader initiative to boost college completion rates. The student-facing site makes the case for 15 to Finish with a variety of studies, statistics and links to data reports. Like many of the other campaign sites, the long-scroll design walks students through an easy-to-understand story of why taking 15 credits matters and identifies ways to make it happen in their own academic journey.
Georgia also provides campus profiles showing institution-specific savings and progress on the campaign.
University of Missouri-Kansas City
University of Missouri-Kansas City, like many of our other examples, shares the facts about 15 to Finish, but they go a step further and highlight students speaking to the importance of the strategy. After hearing from their peers, students can take action by using listed resources such as online adviser appointment scheduler, major maps and financial aid information. UMKC also urges families to stay involved, giving targeted information so parents (and other members of support networks) can give strong advice and encouragement to their students.