Graduation rates are low at most two-year colleges, but honor students at Trident Technical College are working to change that.

Today, the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students, will encourage students to commit to complete a degree, diploma or certificate.

Volunteers will be in front of the college's 510 Building on the main campus in North Charleston, asking other students to sign a banner, and handing out information struggling students might find useful.

A report from the American Institutes for Research, released last month, found low retention and completion rates at two-year colleges cost federal, state, and local taxpayers about $1 billion per year.

Mozell Rollerson, a second-year business student and Trident's Phi Theta Kappa president, said her group is joining the national push for two-year degree completion because "a lot of students are coming to college, but a lot are falling short of getting a degree under their belts."

She knows how hard it is to return to school and do college-level work. Rollerson, who has two children in college, said she struggles to afford her own education. And, it was tough at first attending class with much younger students.

But she's committed to graduating, then moving on to get a four-year degree.

She said her group wants students to know that it might be tough to complete an academic program, but it's worth it. And, the school offers support services that help many students during the tough times.

Trident Tech's official graduation rate is only 7.2 percent, according to data from the state's Commission on Higher Education. That rate is based on the percentage of full-time students who enroll and graduate within three years.

The commission also calculates technical college "success rates," which take into account students who transferred to other higher-education institutions, and those who still are enrolled, even if they didn't graduate within three years. Trident Tech's success rate is 49.4 percent.

Rollerson wants those numbers to increase. "We need to finish our degrees, and we're not alone," she said. "We have support."

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491.