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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Enrollment rises at UH for spring semester

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Education Writer

Spring enrollment figures have jumped again at the University of Hawai'i, going up 5.2 percent at the Manoa campus, 6.9 percent at UH-Hilo, 5.6 percent at UHiWest O'ahu and 2.6 percent overall throughout the 10-campus system in comparison to the spring semester a year ago.

Enrollments also rose in the fall semester last year.

The increases, after years of dwindling enrollments through the 1990s, continue growth that began in 2001 and parallel Evan Dobelle's tenure as UH president.

And while they also indicate fall-out from the events of Sept. 11 as people lost jobs or were laid off and chose to go back to school to gain new skills, enrollment changes at the community-college level this semester show that the economy is picking up.

Some community-college campuses lost students this semester, indicating that the economy is strengthening and recovering, because students are leaving school to take jobs, said Karl Kim, interim vice-chancellor for the Manoa campus.

In 2001, the Hawai'i unemployment rate was 5 percent; now it's 3.8 percent.

"Higher education tends to be countercyclical," Kim said. "When the economy does well, the number of students tends to go down. When the economy does poorly, the number of students seeking job training and the chance to improve their skills increases."

The increase at Manoa brings enrollment there from 16,972 last spring up to 17,858 this spring, an increase of 886 students. UH-Hilo increased by 193 students and West O'ahu by 43 students.

Overall enrollment in courses for credit was 45,793, up by 1,166 students from 44,627 during spring of 2002. An expected enrollment of 42,300 in noncredit courses gives a total of 88,000 throughout the system.

Enrollment surged at some community colleges, including a 9.5 percent increase at Windward Community College, 8.5 percent at Maui Community College and 3.2 percent at Leeward.

However, Hawai'i Community College was down 9 percent, Honolulu Community College was off 2.2 percent, Kapi'olani Community College lost 2.7 percent and Kaua'i Community College lost 2.4 percent.

Reach Beverly Creamer at bcreamer@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8013.