East Hawaii News

Schools on Big Island Lead Drop in UH Enrollment

September 9, 2013, 11:10 AM HST
* Updated September 9, 11:11 AM
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After five straight years of increases, enrollment at the University of Hawaii system has fallen slightly for the 2013 fall semester.

Enrollment statewide stood at 59,288 students , a decline of 1,345 students, or 2.2%, over fall semester 2012, according to figures released today by UH.

The community college portion of the enrollment declined by 1,179, or 3.5%, to 32,939 students.

Schools on the Big Island saw the biggest declines in the statewide system.

Enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo dropped by 138 students for a total of 4,034, down 3.3% from last year.

A total of 3,442 students enrolled at Hawaii Community College, a loss of 244 students or 6.6%.

Before this year, the UH system had seen a steady increase in enrollment which had grown 17% since 2007.

University officials said the dip in college enrollment is following recent national trends.

According to US Census Bureau statistics released this month, college enrollment in fall 2012 plunged by 476,000 students across the country compared to fall 2011.  The Census Bureau says the decline follows a period of substantial growth – 3.2 million – between 2006 and 2011.

The statistics show the decline most prevalent among students 25 and older.

“Enrollment in higher education typically runs counter to economic growth,” said Linda Johnsrud, UH executive vice president for academic affairs. “Students often leave college when the economy provides more jobs.  This is particularly true of the community college students.”

At the state’s other four-year schools, University of Hawaii at Manoa’s enrollment of 19,912 was down 408 students or 2%, while UH-West Oahu, the system’s newest campus, saw an 18.8% increase to 380 students.

Among the community colleges, Windward on Oahu had the biggest increase with 2.2% growing to 2,403 students, and Kauai Community Colleges saw enrollment gain 1.3% students to 1,531. Leeward Community College saw 0.4% more students with enrollment at 8,069 students

Kapiolani Community college enrollment dipped 6.1% to  8,523 students and Honolulu Community College was down 4.6% to 4,437 students. At UH-Maui College, there were a total of 4,097 students, 6.3% fewer than last year.

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