University of Hawaii
enrollment up 5%

President Dobelle attributes
the increase to robust recruitment
on the 10 campuses

Enrollment at the University of Hawaii jumped nearly 5 percent this fall to 50,756 students systemwide, the highest total in eight years.

It was the third annual increase for the university system, which had seen its enrollment fall to as low as 44,587 in 2000.

"We've made a consistent, university-wide effort to focus on increasing enrollment," UH President Evan Dobelle said yesterday, releasing the preliminary figures. "It is obvious that each campus has thought strategically, implemented new approaches and focused on results."

Seven of 10 UH campuses registered enrollment gains this year, with UH Hilo showing the steepest increase of 8.8 percent, to a total of 3,340. Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng said the school has more local, mainland and international students than ever.

Windward and Leeward community colleges grew by nearly 7 percent, with UH Manoa gaining 5.5 percent. There are 19,742 students at the Manoa campus this fall, up from 18,709 last year.

"The state and national economies play a significant role, but so do specific actions taken by the system," said Linda Johnsrud, interim associate vice president for planning and policy. "Campuses also deserve enormous credit for their energetic recruitment efforts."

Windward Community College has grown nearly 30 percent in the past three years, to 1,888 students. Windward Chancellor Angela Meixell attributed the jump to hard work.

"This is not by chance -- it is based on careful research and a faculty-led initiative that examines the best ways we can serve our students," Meixell said. "If a class isn't full, we re-evaluate every aspect of it, from the time it is being offered to the subject matter. This process helps ensure we are meeting student needs and using our resources effectively."

The university may also be drawing more students as its educational programs get more recognition and it is perceived as a better value, according to David McClain, UH vice president for academic affairs. Tuition increases have been relatively modest at UH, in the range of 3 percent a year, well behind some of its counterparts.

"Many, many other institutions, public and private, are raising their tuition costs dramatically, by as much as 30 percent," he said. "We have done nothing along those lines. In relative price terms, we're certainly providing more value for the money.

"I think that might explain some folks coming to us from out of state, and might also explain some folks staying in-state," McClain said.

The university no longer sets tuition from year to year, but instead publishes a five-year tuition schedule to make costs predictable, which may also help attract students, Johnsrud said.

Demographics also plays a role, with the number of 18-year-olds on the rise nationally, although that trend is not as pronounced in Hawaii, McClain said.

Enrollment chart


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