(University of Hawai’i Foundation Press Release; September 21, 2015)

HONOLULU – After a highly competitive national award selection process, Honolulu Community College and the University of Hawai‘i System emerged as one of 24 institutions to receive a $225,000 Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success in Higher Education (iPASS) grant from Achieving the Dream in partnership with EDUCAUSE.


Funding was provided by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Helmsley Charitable Trust funding will support Honolulu Community College and the University of Hawai’i system and three other institutions to focus specifically on the unique needs of community college students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.


John Morton, Vice President for Community Colleges, University of Hawai‘i System said, “iPASS is the next step in the ongoing work of the University of Hawai‘i System to promote student success and completion through the Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative, which seeks to increase the number of degrees and certificates awarded. With real-time data we will be able to inform Honolulu Community College students, advisors, and faculty of timely preventative measures and interventions that will lead to greater success.”


Critical to students’ ability to succeed in a STEM discipline and attain a workforce-ready degree is a cohesive support system of proactive student advising. With this award, Honolulu Community College will pilot a program to integrate separate software systems for student registration, counseling, and progress monitoring that are currently in use to better recruit and retain underrepresented students in STEM fields. Through a proactive student advising system, interactive software, and predictive analytic intervention, advisors will be able to identify at-risk students before they run into academic obstacles and target services such as counseling or tutoring to help students get back on track. The university anticipates seeing increased enrollment and retention, increased graduation rates, and increased participation of Native Hawaiian and underrepresented students which aligns with the university’s Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative to increase the number of degree holders in the State.


“iPASS will foster University of Hawai‘i system-wide collaborations to integrate student services, advising, and registration through existing student support systems,” added UH System president David Lassner. He continued, “Advisors will be able to reach out earlier to identify, intervene, and target services to at-risk students who may benefit from counseling, coaching, or tutoring in order to progress towards completion.”


Honolulu Community College’s findings will guide iPASS implementation throughout the UH System in order to challenge current practice and drive changes in behavior in both students and advisors leading to greater student success and completion.


Cindy Lenhart, Vice President for Community College Relations, Achieving the Dream, Inc. said, “We are confident that the emerging community of innovators and implementers pursuing iPASS will make a difference to the millions of students who stand to benefit from improved advising.” Lenhart continued, “All the collaborators in this program— Achieving the Dream, EDUCAUSE, and our research partner the Community College Research Center, in concert with our funders, the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—are looking forward to working with the University of Hawai’i and celebrating this initiative’s success.”


Why the focus on STEM?

  • STEM jobs represent 20 percent of all jobs in the United States, contributing to the nation’s well-being as a significant portion of our employment, economy, and cutting-edge advances.
  • A Brookings Institution analysis has shown that half of all STEM jobs are available to workers with sub-baccalaureate credentials, meaning that community college students are a primary source for filling these critical jobs.
  • Middle-skill STEM jobs represent a huge opportunity for our nation’s historically underserved students, who disproportionately enroll at community colleges and are underrepresented in STEM pathways and jobs.


Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 35 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams. http://achievingthedream.org/


EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. EDUCAUSE programs and services are focused on analysis, advocacy, community building, professional development, and knowledge creation because IT plays a transformative role in higher education. EDUCAUSE supports those who lead, manage, and use information technology through a comprehensive range of resources and activities. For more information, visit www.educause.edu.


The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations. www.uhfoundation.org