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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 2, 2006

UH's spring enrollment down 2.3 percent

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer

Enrollment at nine of the 10 University of Hawai'i campuses decreased slightly for the spring 2006 term, with only UH-Hilo posting an increase.

Systemwide, enrollment decreased 2.3 percent, or about 1,087 students, and represents the first decrease in spring enrollment after four years of growth. Most of the significant decreases occurred at the community colleges.

Falling enrollment at the community college level is attributed to the booming economy and Hawai'i's low unemployment rate, said Linda Johnsrud, UH vice president for academic planning and policy.

"(Community college students) may be more likely to respond to the marketplace," said Johnsrud. More students are opting to join the workforce rather than attend class, she said.

That was the case in the fall 2005 term when community college rolls fell 2.8 percent. This semester, enrollment continues to lag, with a 4.4 percent decrease from last year.

The rest of the UH campuses, except UH-Hilo, experienced slight decreases. "I'd call it flat," said Johnsrud. "This comes after pretty steady growth after 2000. So it's probably not surprising that we've leveled off a bit," she said.

UH-Manoa preliminary enrollment numbers show a 0.4 percent decrease in enrollment. Enrollment at UH-West O'ahu declined 0.2 percent.

Declining enrollment is not always a bad thing, said Johnsrud.

"It relieves some of the pressure," she said. "The steadily increasing enrollment puts pressure on the campus' ability to offer classes and enough support services for the students."

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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