East Hawaii News

UH Community College System Receives Funds for Student Success Center

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PIXABAY graduatesThe Kresge Foundation has awarded $500,000 over a two-year period to the University of Hawai’i Community College System’s proposed Student Success Center.

UH’s Community College System was one of five new Student Success Centers supported by a $2.5 million investment from The Kresge Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“These centers build a cohesive approach to engagement, learning, and policy advocacy across each state’s two-year institutions,” says Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of Kresge’s Education Program. “The colleges can then spend their resources more effectively and create reforms that help the most students possible graduate.”

The Centers provide the vision, support, and a shared venue for a state’s community colleges as they work in partnership on a collective student success agenda.


Low-income students, student from diverse background and first-generation will be assisted through the investment as they earn college credentials through the expanding national network.

Community college organizations in New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington will also receive funding, and in recent years, centers in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas have also been among recipients of funds to create centers.

The centers selected for these grants “each demonstrated a clear vision of a statewide policy agenda to increase community college persistence and completion, as well as the capacity for meaningful data analysis and strong commitment from a broad group of stakeholders,” said Chris Baldwin, Jobs for the Future’s senior director.


Student Success Centers organize a state’s community colleges around common action to accelerate their efforts to improve student outcomes. They provide faculty and staff with venues for sharing and learning, aggregate technical assistance efforts and help colleges collaborate. Student Success Centers pointedly seek to bridge the gap between policymakers and practitioners as they implement reforms that will help the most students possible earn postsecondary credentials.

“The community colleges are critical components in preparing the next generation to meet the state’s workforce needs, and I’m very pleased these national organizations recognize the value of investing in our community colleges in Hawai‘i,” says Peter Quigley, associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges. “This grant comes at a perfect time as we recently deployed a new Student Success Council charged with prioritizing and implementing strategies consistently throughout the community college system that will lead to a dramatic increase in student success metrics.”

UH community colleges were home to 30,370 students, as of Fall 2015, that makes up for 54.5 percent of the 55,756 students enrolled in the 10 UH system campuses. In addition, UH community colleges awarded 4,825 degrees and certificates of achievement in the 2014-2015 academic year.


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