Students Take Pledge to Complete Education

For the past two years, Harper College has graduated a record-breaking number of students, with nearly 1,500 more earning degrees and certificates this year than in 2010.

With an eye on continuing that trend, Harper's Phi Theta Kappa honors society is unveiling a Completion Pledge that urges students to sign on the dotted line saying they'll finish their education.

Those who take part in the initiative -  launched at the Thursday, September 13 fall-semester kickoff event - will get an "I Commit to Complete" wristband or wallet card reminder and have their name added to a banner that will be publicly displayed on campus. Their progress will be tracked by the College, with a goal of offering support along the way.

"We are measuring our institutional success not by the number of students that start here, but by the number that finish here," says Maria Moten, Assistant Provost and Dean of Enrollment Services. "There has been tremendous buy-in from our Phi Theta Kappa students, and that's critical as we work together to get more people to complete their education."

The completion pledge, drafted with input from Phi Theta Kappa members, is a growing trend among chapters of the two-year college honors society, and coincides with a national push for more college graduates.

"Our students have been eager to produce a document that holds them and their peers accountable for finishing," says Assistant Professor John Garcia, who oversees Harper's Phi Theta Kappa chapter. "They realize the value of a degree or certificate, and see the importance in following through, even if they intend to transfer to a university to continue their education."

In 2010, Harper set a goal to produce 10,604 additional graduates by 2020 - its share of the 5 million additional college graduates President Barack Obama challenged America to produce.

Nearly 4,500 Harper students earned certificates or degrees during the 2011-2012 academic year, about 600 more than the record-breaking total achieved during the 2010-2011 school year.

The new pledge is part of a campus-wide effort to boost completion rates. 

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Manager