Student surge hits UH campuses


POSTED: Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Enrollment at the 10 University of Hawaii campuses has reached an all-time high of 58,157 students, straining the ability of some campuses to accommodate the growth amid budget cuts.

“;The restrictions we're working with are going to have an impact, there's no doubt about it,”; said Linda Johnsrud, UH vice president for academic planning and policy. “;Right now we're picking and choosing, figuring out where we can cut back that will do the least damage.”;

Systemwide enrollment is up 8.7 percent over last year's record 53,509 students.

The seven community colleges saw the greatest increases with total enrollment of 32,446 students, 13.5 percent over last fall. Maui Community College saw a 26.2 percent enrollment increase, and Kapiolani Community College had the greatest numerical increase of 879 students over last year.

The flagship UH-Manoa campus saw its enrollment increase by 391 students to 20,370, a 2 percent increase over last year and the largest increase in six years.





The state's public and charter school enrollment for 2009-2010 is slightly up, mostly as a result of student increases in charter schools, according to the state Department of Education.


Overall enrollment was up 0.4 percent, or 778 students, to 178,649, and charter schools realized a 6 percent gain, up 446 students, to 7,819.


The state has 257 public schools in the Department of Education and 31 charter schools.


The five largest charter schools are Kamaile Academy (722, K-6), Myron B. Thompson Academy (552, K-12), Ka Waihona 'o ka Na'auao (529, K-8), Hawaii Technology Academy (486, K-12) and Kihei (436, K-12), the department said.


Star-Bulletin staff




UH-Manoa, which is having to cut $48 million from its general fund budget, has had to cut classes and increase class size to deal with both the budget cuts and the enrollment increase.

Johnsrud said the university is not considering enrollment caps to deal with budget cuts, but the cuts themselves might limit enrollment. “;If we reach the point where students can't get into classes, that will effectively cap enrollment.”;

Johnsrud said it appears some UH-Manoa students are also registering at community colleges to take general education classes, which could account for some of the increase at places like Kapiolani.

“;It doesn't really matter where they take English 100,”; Johnsrud said.

The community colleges are better positioned to deal with some of the budget cuts because the Legislature gave them extra money, anticipating an enrollment surge, Johnsrud said.

She said the economy is also a factor in the growth.

“;Some students who might have, in another time, gone to the mainland may have decided to stay home,”; she said.

For the last two years, UH-West Oahu has seen double-digit enrollment growth as the school has added freshman and sophomore classes. Enrollment is up 16.5 percent this year to 1,355 students.

Johnsrud said UH-West Oahu's growth validates the need for a new campus in Kapolei.

“;It (West Oahu) is still the fastest-growing part of the state,”; she said. “;We knew we had to expand our offerings in that part of the island.”;


Enrollment at the 10 University of Hawaii campuses this fall:

Fall 2009IncreaseGain
UH-Manoa20,3603912 percent
UH-Hilo3,9962105.5 percent
UH-West Oahu1,35519216.5 percent
Hawaii CC3,31540614 percent
Honolulu CC4,5853979.5 percent
Kapiolani CC9,20687910.6 percent
Kauai CC1,34424322.1 percent
Leeward CC7,58569510.1 percent
Maui CC4,08584926.2 percent
Windward CC2,32638619.9 percent
Total enrollment58,1574,6488.7 percent