Why 55 by ’25

Hawai‘i’s education leaders have set a goal to have 55 percent of working age adults (25–64 years old) have a two- or four-year college degree by the year 2025. As of 2018, 46.3% of Hawai‘i residents have a college degree. 

55 by ‘25 College Degree Attainment Rate

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey. BI50001: Sex by Age by Educational Attainment for the Population 18 Years or Over. 1-year estimates. Chart includes aduilts 25-64 age range.

View Data in Table Format

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 Why 55 by ʻ25 is Urgent

  • According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 70 percent of jobs in Hawai‘i will require some college. Hawai‘i needs a more educated workforce!
  • Hawai‘i residents with bachelor’s degrees earn on average $29,000 more per year than residents with only a high school diploma, and are less likely to be unemployed. (U.S. Census, 2018)
  • High school graduates are three times more likely to live in poverty than college graduates, and eight times more likely to depend on public assistance.

Preparation for Success in College and Career Starts in Early Childhood

Preparation for college starts in a child’s earliest years. A critical marker for learning and for high school graduation is third grade reading proficiency.

“Up until the end of the third grade, most children are learning to read. Beginning in the fourth grade, however, they area reading to learn, using their skills to gain more information in subjects such as math and science, to solve problems, to think critically about what they are learning, and to act upon and share that knowledge in the world around them. Up to half of the printed fourth-grade curriculum is incomprehensible to students who read below that grade level, according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. And three quarters of students who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor readers in high school, according to researchers at Yale University. Not surprisingly, students with relatively low literacy achievement tend to have more behavioral and social problems in subsequent grades.”

Source: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A KIDS COUNT Special Report, Annie E. Casey Foundation

What can you do to support reading at grade level by third grade?

Building Clear and Coherent Pathways for Student Success

Employers today struggle to hire enough workers to meet current and projected demands. Meanwhile, we know that our Hawai‘i students are more than capable to do this work, but may not have the right skills or credentials to fill critical positions in the current or future labor market. To change this trend, we must continue evolving how the student learning experience is designed and aligned with the needs of our employers.

College and career pathways expand economic opportunity while preparing students for career and life success. Completing a high-quality college and career pathway improves academic achievement and increases the likelihood of graduating high school, being prepared for college-level coursework, developing employability skills and securing a living wage job.

In order to keep Hawai‘i students here when they graduate, we need Hawai‘i business and industry to get involved in all levels:

  1. Expanding the public school system’s capacity to deliver high-quality, career-aligned:
    1. academics
    2. advising
    3. work-based learning
  2. Connecting our schools to credentials and degrees that lead to Hawai‘i’s in-demand jobs.

What can you do to understand career pathways for students?

Learn more about the work that Hawai‘i P-20 is collaborating with across agencies (University of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i State Department of Education, Workforce) to determine how to best support students through the development of career pathways.

College Students Who Take Fifteen Credits a Semester

Did you know that out of 100 students who enroll in a University of Hawai‘i (UH) 2- or 4-year college, just one student graduates with a 2-year degree on time and only five students graduate with a 4-year degree on time? While being a “full-time” college student is defined as earning 12 credits per semester, earning less than 15 credits will not put a student on track to graduate on time. Students who earn 15 credits or more per semester, on average, earn better grades and are more likely to graduate at all. UH’ s “Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative” (HGI) focuses on increasing the number of educated citizens and UH graduates. “15 to Finish” a nationally-recognized program that was initiated by UH and encourages students to earn 15 credits per semester to complete college on time (two and four years). The 15 to Finish communication program resulted in a 30.7 percent increase in UH freshmen systemwide signing up for 15 credits in Fall, 2015. The campaign was highlighted as a national role model for 22 member states at the “15 to Finish” Institute sponsored by Complete College America in 2013 and has been adopted by 15 states to increase their on-time graduation rates.

What can you do to support on-time graduation from college?

Following the National Trend

The 55 by ’25 campaign falls in line with national efforts to increase the percentage of college degree attainment. Lumina Foundation has been advocating for GOAL 2025, which is to have 60% of Americans hold degrees, certificates or other high-quality postsecondary credentials by 2025—is essential to meeting our nation’s growing need for talent.