More Than 50,000 Students Enrolled at UH Campuses This Semester

Manoa, Hilo and West Oahu see enrollment increase; community colleges' enrollment decreases

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Sep 15, 2004

Preliminary enrollment figures released today show that the University of Hawaiʻi system has a total enrollment this fall semester of 50,802, an increase of 37 student enrollments, or 0.1 percent, compared to fall 2003. It is expected that another 29,000 students will be enrolling in non-credit programs throughout the UH system, bringing the total enrollment to nearly 80,000.

"The University of Hawaiʻi provides the skills for success that today‘s students require, and we continue to attract students of all ages and backgrounds to our campuses statewide," said UH Acting President David McClain. "Though our enrollment growth this year has moderated, we still need to respond to the surge we‘ve experienced throughout the system over the past several years. This will be one of the university‘s key priorities in our proposed biennium budget."

Of the 10 campuses, UH Mānoa saw the largest numerical gain in enrollment with 721 students over last year, a percentage increase of 3.7 percent, for a total of 20,463. Hawaiʻi Community College, which is the only community college to experience an increase in enrollment over last year, saw the largest percentage increase in enrollment with a 4.1 percent increase over last year, or 95 students, for a total of 2,414.

"Of course we are happy that more students recognize the value of our academic programs here at Mānoa," said UH Mānoa Chancellor Peter Englert. "But we need to balance that enthusiasm with concern for the stress this places on our resources.

"Since Fall 2000, our enrollment has increased by 3,200 students — a little over 18 percent — and we have had virtually no corresponding increase in our instructional budget. We will be asking for support for academics again in the coming legislative session, and looking at other possible sources of revenue to meet our needs" said Englert.

UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo both experienced enrollment increases this semester. There are a total of 847 students enrolled at UH West Oʻahu, a 3.2 percent increase over last year, or 26 students. UH Hilo‘s opening enrollment grew slightly with a total of 3,365 enrolled students, a 0.7 percent increase over last year, or 25 students.

"Though smaller than past years, this increase extends the upward trend that began in the fall of 1997, and has seen our enrollment grow by more than 25 percent," said UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng. "We view this as further evidence that UH Hilo is earning a well-deserved reputation as a quality, full service, comprehensive university."

Enrollment at the community colleges stands at 26,127, a decrease of 2.7 percent or 735 students. Six of the seven community colleges saw decreases in enrollment with Maui Community College experiencing the smallest decrease at 0.2 percent, or 6 students, for a total of 2,998, and Kauaʻi Community College experiencing the largest decrease at 9.1 percent, or 110 students, for a total of 1,100.

"Enrollments in higher education typically run counter to growth in the economy and the number of jobs available. As of July, Hawaiʻi‘s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent, compared to 4.4 percent last year, showing that job growth is up," explained UH Interim Associate Vice President for Planning and Policy Linda Johnsrud. "The availability of jobs has a direct impact on enrollments in the community colleges. In addition, the recent military deployments from Hawaiʻi are likely to have affected community college enrollments."

As for the remaining community colleges, Honolulu CC‘s enrollment stands at 4,358, a decrease of 1.9 percent or 86 students; Kapiʻolani CC‘s enrollment stands at 7,337, a decrease of 4.5 percent or 342 students; Leeward CC‘s enrollment stands at 6,141, a decrease of 2.8 percent or 177 students; and Windward CC‘s enrollment stands at 1,779, a decrease of 5.8 percent or 109 students.

While the majority of community college campuses experienced decreases in enrollment, the reductions were offset by increases at the four-year campuses, maintaining the growth in enrollment the university system has experienced since fall 2001.