UH Mānoa Reports Record High Graduation, Retention Rates

December 2, 2019, 10:45 AM HST · Updated December 2, 10:45 AM
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PC: UH Mānoa

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on-time graduation rate reached a record high in 2019 after a near 20 percent increase over the last nine years.

An estimated 36.6 percent of UH Mānoa students who enrolled in fall 2015 graduated in four years, which is more than double the 17.5 percent of students who enrolled in fall 2006.

The six-year graduation rate, the official graduation rate used by the federal government, reached a historic high at 60.5 percent, slightly higher than the national average.

“This is truly a team effort as our faculty continue to develop innovative, exciting and relevant programs that attract and retain our students,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Our nationally recognized STAR GPS online registration system guides students in the courses they need to take in order to remain on target to achieve their graduation goals.”

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Bruno also commended the work of the academic advisors saying, “They work closely with the faculty to ensure that the students are kept fully informed about their programs, as well as opportunities to grow and learn via experiential learning such as study abroad and internships.”

The Mānoa campus also set a record for one-year retention rates for first-time, full-time students at 81.1 percent. School administrators say this is a good indication that the on-time graduation rate will continue to climb. According to the university, data shows that students who make it through their first year of college are more likely to earn a degree and finish in four years.

It is the first time first-year retention rates exceeded 80 percent in 10 years. UH Mānoa administrators say they are cautiously optimistic about the ongoing efforts to make freshmen feel welcome and integrate into campus life from their first day of school.

“I think itʻs indicative of students feeling comfortable here and like they are part of a larger picture,” said Ronald Cambra, assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate education. “They are getting to the point to where they know exactly what they need to do in pursuit of their degree.”

To maintain and increase the number of students successfully continuing on their academic pathways and towards timely graduation, UH Mānoa is working on launching a number of programs:

    • A summer advising program targeted for summer 2020 that involves interactive communication between students and academic advisors. Many units have expressed interest in summer advising as a bridge between semesters that keep students engaged year round.
    • An expanded transfer coordinating center slated for spring 2020 to support students transferring to the Mānoa campus from the UH community colleges.
    • A “balance” program as part of the STAR system that would identify at-risk students struggling with their classes and link them with tutoring and support services.

“Those three things are on our plate going forward,” said Cambra. “They tie in beautifully with supporting the retention and graduation rates, so weʻre going to be busy.”

UH Mānoa has also seen record success recently with student recruitment, welcoming 2,020 freshman in fall 2019, its second largest freshman class ever and second in recent years to go over 2,000. It is also just 189 students shy of the largest freshman class in the university’s 112-year history, set in fall 2018.

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