Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

On-Time Completion Tactics

Students are more concerned than ever about ways to keep college affordable, however many do not realize that time to degree is a major contributor to costs. While an associate degree should be finished in two years and a bachelor's in four, Kentucky students often delay graduation by one semester to one year due to low course loads. The result is a more expensive college credential and deferred entry into the workforce to recoup costs.

15 to Finish Kentucky

15 to Finish Kentucky is the Council's campaign to raise awareness that taking 15 credits a semester, rather than the minimum of 12, is how students can graduate on time and reduce the price of college. The last campaign, which ran in 2013-14, included media advertising and advisor resources.

The Council also produced a report in 2018 and a presentation in 2023 that highlights additional research about the increased success of students who pursued 15 credit hours course loads. The study showed a high correlation between improved graduation rates and 15-credit course loads taken the first semester of freshman year.

Other state and national 15 to Finish programs

Kentucky was one of many states that implemented a 15 to Finish campaign.

Similarly, individual institutions have adopted messaging that emphasizes the importance of earning 30 credits a year to to stay on track.

View the Council's academic momentum dashboard

Other on-time completion tactics

There are several ways to encourage on-time completion:

To note, while 15 credits a semester may work for most students, there will be exceptions. Many students intentionally enroll in college part-time or with a minimum of full-time load to balance work, caregiving and other responsibilities. It is important for advisors to find the right fit for each student to ensure success.

Additional research

Last Updated: 9/15/2023