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Oct. 23, 2018

‘Complete 30’ initiative encourages students, advisors to build academic plans that ensure timely degree completion


A new Northwest Missouri State University initiative is encouraging students to complete 30 credit hours each academic year and engage in conversation with their advisors to develop academic plans that promote timely degree completion.

The “Complete 30” initiative at Northwest is a variation of Complete College America’s “15 to Finish” program that allows students to take a personalized approach to meeting their academic goals. While one student may enroll in 15 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters with no classes during the summer, another student may choose to enroll in 12 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters and take six credit hours during the summer.

“The Complete 30 initiative encourages students to discuss and collaborate with their academic advisor to establish an individualized plan with a focus on successful completion of 30 or more hours each academic year,” Allison Hoffmann, Northwest’s director of academic success and retention, said. “Complete 30 allows for consideration of individual student needs and follows our philosophy that student success and ultimately the path to degree completion looks different for each and every one of our students.”

Northwest students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors, discuss Complete 30 and develop an individualized academic plan that focuses on progressing each semester toward degree completion. If a student falls behind in their academic progress, additional conversations between the student and their academic advisor may be needed to revise their academic plan for degree completion.

While Complete 30 incorporates concepts that Northwest advisors already are implementing during advisement meetings with students, the University points to data that indicates students who complete 30 credit hours each academic year are more likely to stay on track to graduate in four years. In contrast, students who enroll in just 24 credits per year typically graduate in five years and are likely to rack up more debt from tuition, fees, food, housing and other college-related expenses.

Nationwide, colleges and universities also have determined academic plans like Complete 30 yield higher grade-point averages and graduation rates. According to data reflecting Northwest’s student population:

  • Students who complete 30 or more credits during their first year at Northwest graduate at a rate of 82 percent, compared to a graduation rate of 37 percent for those who complete less than 30 credit hours.
  • Students who complete 30 or more hours during their first year at Northwest earn a 3.4 average GPA, while those taking less than 30 hours earn a 2.9 average GPA.

Additionally, students who graduate in four years or less not only accrue less debt but earn a higher income, on average. The average entry-level income with a bachelor’s degree in the state of Missouri is $45,728. Northwest also leads the state in placement with 96.6 percent of its undergraduates securing a job or continuing their education within six months of completing a bachelor’s degree.

“The goal of the Complete 30 initiative is increased graduation rates with an understanding that timely graduation leads to saving money and beginning a career more quickly,” Hoffmann said. “Complete 30 is another commitment to our student success and retention efforts with a focus on the importance of degree completion.”

For more information about Complete 30 and academic support services at Northwest, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/studentsuccess/Complete30/.

A coeducational, primarily residential four-year university with an enrollment of 6,857 students, Northwest offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location at the Northland Innovation Center and through Northwest Online.

The University’s 59 percent graduation rate is in the 89th percentile of Northwest's national peer group. In addition, Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their résumés with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.

Furthermore, its vibrant and diverse learning community offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $7,300 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/facts/.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468