Office of the Chancellor

Hilo section of UH System Enrollment Management Report, January 2019

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The Student Success Leadership Team (SSLT) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo was appointed by Interim Chancellor Sakai in September 2017. The team was charged with reviewing the campus Enrollment Management Plan and recommending proactive implementation and assessment plans to meet the proposed enrollment targets. The SSLT was co-convened by then Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA), Farrah-Marie Gomes, and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Ken Hon. A complete list of the Student Success Leadership Team members follows:

  • Farrah-Marie Gomes, Former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Ken Hon, Former Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • Michael Bitter Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Kainoa Ariola Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Sherrie Padilla Director, Financial Aid; Manager, Enrollment Services
  • Zach Street Former Director, Admissions
  • Alyson Kakugawa-Leong Director, Media Relations
  • Kelli Okumura Analyst, Institutional Research
  • Misaki Takabayashi Former Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

From Fall 2008 to Fall 2012, Fall headcount enrollment at UH Hilo grew steadily from 3,773 to 4,157 students, an increase of 10.2 percent. Since reaching the historical peak in Fall 2012, undergraduate enrollment at UH Hilo has decreased by 21.6 percent, from 3,568 students to 2,796 in fall 2018. This decrease mirrors national college and high school demographic trends.

Figure 1. Enrollment by Academic Level

Freshmen Students

First-Time Freshmen (FTF) enrollment has fluctuated for UH Hilo. Over the 11-year period, the average enrollment size for FTF is 442 students (gray reference line). UH Hilo’s FTF class reached a low point of 368 students in Fall 2016, but rebounded to 413 students in Fall 2018, a 12.2 percent increase.

Figure 3. Transfer Student (TFS) Enrollment

Over the past five years, UH Hilo has seen an upswing in enrollment for this population.

Figure 2. First-Time Freshmen (FTF) Enrollment

Transfer Students

Transfer student enrollment has decreased since Fall 2013, at an average rate of 8.9 percent, to 311 students in Fall 2018. Over the past 11 years, approximately 50 percent of the transfer students came from non-UH Institutions, 25 percent for Hawaiʻi Community College and the remaining from other campuses across UH System.

Figure 4. % Distribution of Transfer Students

Continuing Students

UH Hilo’s peak one year retention rates occurred in 2015 at 70.9 percent for FTF and 2016 at 75.4 percent for TFS. Although the retention rates have experienced slight decreases since then, the second year retention rates show an upward trend for both populations.

![images/chancellor/EM_fig5-1.png]( "Fig 5.1 1st & 2nd Year Retention Rates: UH Hilo FTF"){}
Figure 5.1 1st & 2nd Year Retention Rates: UH Hilo First Time Freshmen (FTF)
![images/chancellor/EM_fig5-2.png]( "Fig 5.2 1st & 2nd Year Retention Rates UH Hilo TFS"){}
Figure 5.2 1st & 2nd Year Retention Rates: UH Hilo Transfer Students (TFS)

Graduate and Professional Students

Over the past eight years the graduate and professional enrollment at UH Hilo has remained steady. Enrollment for 2008 and 2009 are not included because the College of Pharmacy was building up enrollment at that time.

Figure 6. Graduate Division Enrollment (University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo)


Since 2015, UH Hilo has seen modest increases in the number of degrees awarded every year.

Figure 7. Degrees Awarded (University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo)

II. Vision for the Future

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo aspires to be Hawaiʻi’s premier regional four-year university by enhancing its portfolio of baccalaureate and select graduate and professional degree programs in alignment with community and workforce needs. UH Hilo will grow its diverse student population to an overall enrollment of 3,800 students by 2021 with representation from Hawaiʻi Island, the state of Hawaiʻi, the continental U.S., and international countries. To address the University of Hawaiʻi System’s Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative , UH Hilo will focus on preparing competent and transformational leaders of tomorrow through a data-driven enrollment management process: from recruitment, to persistence, to graduation and beyond.

Nationally, undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase by 14 percent between 2015 and 2026 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). In line with this projection, and given the existing capacity for growth, UH Hilo plans to increase undergraduate enrollment to 3,220 by 2021. Over the same time period, post-baccalaureate enrollment (i.e. professional and graduate level enrollment) is projected to increase nationally by 12 percent (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017), with potential growth of UH Hilo’s graduate student numbers to 580 by 2021.

UH Hilo will increase its enrollment through strategic recruitment, holistic student support, high-impact retention efforts and transformation of its traditional courses of study into a refined, dynamic and interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum that is more responsive to preparing graduates for employment and leadership in the 21st century. As a result, UH Hilo will become a destination school for students from Hawaiʻi, the continental U.S., and abroad who are interested in making an impact in a rapidly changing and diverse society.

To address the need for flexible learning opportunities in an island state, where potential students are geographically isolated, UH Hilo will offer a tailored selection of distance learning courses, to assist students in degree completion while tending to the responsibilities of their modern lives. This will extend UH Hilo’s reach and meet the needs of students both in Hilo and in other areas via distance education. Nationally, more than a quarter of undergraduate students participated in distance education in 2015, with 12 percent of total undergraduates exclusively taking distance education courses and of those undergraduate students who exclusively took distance education courses, 62 percent were enrolled at institutions located in the same state in which they resided (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017).

Enrollment Targets

UH Hilo remains committed to key initiatives designed to boost new and continuing student numbers in the coming years. UH Hilo has the infrastructure to support increased student population 20-25 percent higher than the 2018 level. Targets in Table 1 are set to reflect achievable goals based upon demographic projections and the strategies being implemented. Enrollment will be assessed against targets regularly during the year and evaluated in comparison to official census data.

First-time freshman recruitment targets are set using WICHE demographic projections and historical enrollment data. For Hawaiʻi, consideration is given to population base, market saturation, and varying enrollment trends among the different islands. Mainland projections rely heavily on expected outcomes from expanded digital outreach and both prospect and application generation from EAB Royall. Transfer student projections are based primarily on expected outcomes from key strategies such as the establishment of a transfer center, full text message implementation, and an increase in 2+2 pathways. In addition, transfer student projections take into account the UH Community Colleges projection of their own strong and consistent enrollment growth.

UH Hilo implemented key programs, beginning in Spring 2018, to increase retention for the Fall 2018 freshman cohort. The initiatives are based upon key academic best practices for student success, such as 15-to-Finish academic pathways to ensure timely graduation, mandatory freshman advising, the gradual roll-out of early warning system MySuccess, and math and English within the first year with co-requisite and supplemental instruction. Additionally, UH Hilo has committed to transforming its first year curriculum by expanding the First Year Program to include orientation, year-round programming for new students, peer mentoring, transfer student events, and the coupling of Living Learning Communities with a first year student success seminar series of UNIV 101 Paths to Acad/Lifelong Success (1) and UNI 194. The campus continues to work on strengthening communication of important dates, deadlines, while announcing opportunities, like career fairs, graduate school fairs, and internships that can support students through graduation and beyond, however UH Hilo remains committed to further refining its student success strategy to impact all students.

The cumulative effect of these measures is expected to result in consistent gains of 1-2 percent per year in Freshman retention and similar increases in persistence of other student populations. Keeping more of our students enrolled through graduation coupled with increased recruitment is key to reaching our goal of 3,800 students in 2021 and to building a more sustainable student population size.

Figure 8. Historical Campus Enrollment Targets for Fall 2019 - Fall 2021

Table 1. Historical Campus Enrollment Targets for Fall 2019 - Fall 2021

Item Measure Fall 20161 Fall 20171 Fall 2018
Fall 2018
Fall 20192 Fall 20202 Fall 20212
1 Total 3,666 3,539 3,406 3,443 3,500 3,650 3,800
% Change N/A -3.5% -3.8% -2.7% 2.8% 4.3% 4.1%
2 Classified 3,527 3,391 3,243 3,443 3,330 3,480 3,630
3 Graduate Division 565 536 562 536 550 550 550
4 Undergraduate Division 2,962 2,855 2,681 2,907 2,780 2,930 3,080
5 First-Time Freshmen 368 413 413 410 450 500 550
5a • Mainland/International 118 145 131 145 145 165 185
5b • Hawaiʻi High Schools 250 268 282 265 305 335 365
5c • Big Island 160 166 190 172 200 220 240
5d • Oʻahu 57 72 72 63 75 80 85
5e • Maui and Kauai 33 30 20 30 30 35 40
6 Transfer Students 396 371 311 371 320 345 370
6a Non-UH System 182 186 161 193 165 175 185
6b UH System 214 185 150 178 155 170 185
6c • HawCC 144 115 89 114 90 100 110
6d • Other UHCC 44 51 38 50 45 50 55
6e • Other 4-Year 26 19 23 14 20 20 20
7 Remaining UG Population 2,198 2,071 1,957 2,126 2,010 2,085 2,160
8 Unclassified 139 148 163 170 170 170
Graduate Division 26 32 28 30 30 30
Undergraduate Division 113 116 135 140 140 140

Data Source: UH IRAO Enrollment Management Model for UH Hilo; January 2019.


  • Item 1 - Total Enrollment = Item 2 + Item 8
  • Item 2 - Classified: A student who has been admitted/accepted into a degree program
  • Item 4 = Item 5 + Item 6 + Item 7
  • Item 5 - First time Freshmen: Students who are direct entrants, who enrolled in college directly after graduating from high school.
  • Item 5 = Item 5a + Item 5b
  • Item 5b = Item 5c + Item 5d + Item 5e
  • Item 6 - Transfer Students: Population excludes students within the National/International Student Exchange Programs.
  • Item 6 = Item 6a + Item 6b
  • Item 6b = Item 6c + Item 6d + Item 6e
  • Item 7 - Remaining UG Population: Population includes all remaining classified continuing, returning students, and students within International/National Student Exchange Programs.
  • Item 8 - Unclassified Students: A student who has not been admitted into a degree program (includes Early Admits, Running Start, or Visiting students).

III. Actions Taken for Fall 2018

For Fall 2018, UH Hilo’s first time freshmen enrollment count held steady, sustaining the increase of the prior year which had followed on several years of decline in this important source of new students. Both applications and acceptances increased. The increase in enrollment of first time freshmen students from Hawaiʻi island is a bright spot, offset by a decrease in enrollment from mainland and international sources. UH Hilo has enhanced its recruitment communication of the campus as an undergraduate STEM destination campus with focus on applied learning, capitalizing on our ongoing consistent presence in high schools across Hawaiʻi, and also more robustly identifying target student markets in the state and on the mainland.

An equally important source of new students for UH Hilo, the transfer student enrollment count decreased in Fall 2018. Both transfer enrollment from non-UH institutions and from UH community colleges experienced a significant decrease compared to prior years. However, the projected growth in UH community college enrollment suggests this will be a growth sector for UH Hilo transfer enrollment. Hawaiʻi Community College will continue to be an important transfer pathway for UH Hilo, and UH Hilo has begun the process of identifying pathways with other UH community colleges.

Retention efforts to impact Fall 2018 enrollment are showing early success. However, UH Hilo's first to second year retention rate has fluctuated over the past few years and underscores the importance of enhancing first year experiences for both first time full time freshmen and first time full time transfer students. UH Hilo will also continue to implement retention strategies beyond the first year for all students that will boost student success and graduation, including learning assistant support to key gateway courses, more community engaged learning, improving DL courses, and proactive advising.

Recruitment and Enrollment Efforts

Increased communication and access to financial aid information

UH Hilo is working to increase communication efforts related to financial aid availability by 10% each year target. UH Hilo implemented Financial Aid TV’s GetAnswers, an online library of over 600 short (60-90 seconds each) video clips that are accessible on demand, 24/7. GetAnswers videos communicate complex financial aid information to current and prospective students and parents in an easy to understand style. The videos cover a wide array of topics that include financial aid, financial literacy, loans, grants, scholarships and more. GetAnswers allows users to easily find pertinent videos through audience segmentation, categorization and related content. The Financial Aid office also sent 2018-19 Financial Aid award notices to student emails listed on the FAFSA in addition to their email account.

Adjusted awarding of institutional aid to support retention

The campus developed the Retention Grant Program to assist students with outstanding balances. Financial Aid appointed a casual hire financial aid counselor to contact and assist students who still owe an outstanding balance for the fall 2018 semester at the end of the 4th week of instruction. Students are encouraged to apply for and maximize financial aid. Once all other financial aid options are exhausted, students will be able to apply for a Retention Grant. Successful candidates receive assistance to pay financial obligations, so they can be retained and enroll for the Spring 2019 semester.

Expanded and enhanced digital outreach (email, web, and social media)

The Admissions Office launched EAB/Royall’s Decision IQ campaign for accepted first-time Freshman for Fall 2018, consisting of a series of email contacts to drive yield of accepted students. More than 800 students received a series of up to 7 messages asking for their decision on enrollment at UH Hilo. Accepted students were also asked to identify critical decision criteria, allowing for customized and immediate response from admissions counselors. For prospective students declining admission to UH Hilo, EAB/Royall administered a “Not Coming Survey”, which has allowed Admissions to collect key data for more refined and targeted recruitment efforts for future terms.

Increased UHCC Transfer Events/Recruitment

The Admissions Office completed Geo-fenced mobile advertising campaign across UH community college campuses and select U.S. mainland campuses from April through June 2018. More than 700,000 mobile impressions ran across 8 campuses, collecting nearly 4,000 “click-thrus” to the university website and admissions ‘Apply’ page. Additionally, admissions counselors attended UHCC Transfer Days at all 7 UHCC campuses in February 2018.

Full implementation of texting communications for accepted students

The Admissions Office launched a text campaign for more than 1,200 accepted freshmen and transfer students, delivering 12 scheduled messages and thousands of individual messages between February and August 2018. The messages were targeted by region and population, and were aligned with steps in the enrollment process. Texts triggered frequent individualized text message exchanges and the opportunity to assist students in gathering information and removing hurdles to enrollment.

Retention Efforts Toward Fall 2018

ʻOpihi Student Success

The interim Associate Vice Chancellors for Academic and Student Affairs launched a retention brand called, ʻOpihi UH Hilo Student Success in December 2017. The brand serves to coordinate and oversee many new and existing undergraduate retention strategies. Using performance based funding, ʻOpihi hired 2 student assistants in December 2017 to generate content as brand ambassadors for the brand’s social media outlets and to educate students about on-campus resources through aggressive tabling and guerilla marketing strategies. In February 2018, with additional performance-based funding, ʻOpihi hired 2 casual retention specialists to develop and implement coordinated messaging, proactive inreach to current students focused on registration and student support, and outreach to potential returning students who stopped out of UH Hilo, but were within 15 credits of graduation.

Increase participation in peer mentoring program for new freshmen and transfer students

In October 2017, UH Hilo acquired the services of Mentor Collective to provide mentoring for new freshmen and transfer students. The system matches new students with peer mentors based upon interest. Mentor Collective also provides training for all mentors. In Spring 2018, Mentor Collective, overseen by the First Year Experience office, connected new freshmen and transfers to peer mentors who are current students at UH Hilo. Twenty-two mentors were hired and a total of 93 new students created accounts. Eighty-three new students (89.2 percent) had access to a mentor and collectively spent 427 total hours engaging with their mentors over the course of the spring semester. UH Hilo aimed to expand to 200 students in Fall 2018.

Increased Mass Communication

ʻOpihi aims to expand communication to students about important deadlines, processes, and events, beyond traditional means to engage in a strong social media strategy targeting students. UH Hilo increased email communication to both faculty and registration deadlines, and began to tailor outreach to students to discuss progress toward degree and continued registration.

Promoting brand recognition through social media and tabling at campus events to facilitate face-to-face contact with current students has allowed ʻOpihi to communicate Student Success Tips, to define and demystify the “hidden curriculum”, including UH Hilo terminology, deadlines and processes such as the handling of incomplete grades and withdrawals, and to broadly communicate information about scholarships, internships and other opportunities for students.

ʻOpihi also promoted the week of early advising and the week of early Fall 18 registration, and hosted ‘Opihi Week through the internet, print media and radio outlets. ‘Opihi Week focused on providing support to current students who have attempted to register but have been unable to get into classes, as well as facilitating advising for students who had not registered for Fall 2018.

Strategic and Personalized Outreach to Continuing Students [Table 2]

In collaboration with the College of Business and Economics and the College of Arts and Sciences, ʻOpihi conducted individual reviews of progress to degree for all 2,529 students at sophomore, junior or senior standing, including exchange students. Freshmen were excluded since they are required to meet with their professional advisors during the semester. The outreach campaign consisted of personalized emails and phone messages to inform students about their advisors, registration dates and important processes and deadlines from March to May 2018.

Based upon census numbers, the total number of continuing students, excluding exchange students came out to 2,135 students. 369 students (17.3 percent) graduated at the end of Spring 2018 and Summer 2018; 1,480 students (69.3 percent) registered for Fall 2018; for a combined student success rate (retained or graduated) of 86.6 percent or 1,849 students.

Table 2. Strategic and Personalized Outreach to Continuing Students

Class Standing CAS (%) CoBE (%) CAFNRM (%) KHUOK (%) Total (%)
Sophomores 384/3843 (100%) 59/593 (100%) 26/264 (100%) 25/254 (100%) 494/494 (100%)
Juniors 634/6343 (100%) 87/873 (100%) 39/394 (100%) 25/254 (100%) 785/785 (100%)
Seniors 1,009/1,0094 (100%) 122/1223 (100%) 56/564 (100%) 63/634 (100%) 1,250/1,250 (100%)

Outreach Campaign to Students Who Did Not Graduate

ʻOpihi identified 54 students who petitioned to graduate in Spring 2017, Summer 2017 and Fall 2017, but who were not conferred degrees upon final certification. The casual retention specialists reviewed academic progress and tailored personalized outreach to ensure successful graduation for all petitioned graduation candidates. Specialists served to liaise between the student and key campus offices to ensure graduation.

Outreach to Students with GPS Pending Registration Errors

ʻOpihi targeted students who had attempted to register into Summer 2018 and Fall 2018 classes through STAR-GPS, but had received errors that prevented registration into classes. Outreach consisted of emails to students explaining how they might resolve the registration error or to explain what registration errors mean.

Outreach to Prospective Returning Students

ʻOpihi retention specialists targeted 203 students of senior class standing who were registered in Spring 2017 and Fall 2017, but did not return to UH Hilo in subsequent semesters and were not enrolled in Spring 2018. The retention specialists conducted individual reviews of student academic records and launched outreach campaign consisting of emails and phone calls informing students of process to return and other processes to aid in re-enrolling at UH Hilo. The campaign began one month before early registration for Fall 2018 and ran until July 2018. Of the Spring 2017 cohort of 177 students, 13 students (7.3 percent) re-enrolled at UH Hilo in Fall 2018. Of the Fall 2017 cohort of 26 students, 5 students (19.2 percent) re-enrolled at UH Hilo in Fall 2018.

Enhance Living Learning Communities (LLC) and University success courses (UNIV101 /UNIV102)

UH Hilo currently offers six thematic LLC’s in University Housing, which are each tied to a corresponding UNIV 101 course, taught by instructional faculty. To leverage LLC/UNIV 101 program and impact retention for the Fall 2018 cohort, the campus commits to providing full support to adequately staff its existing LLC’s and to secure instructors to teach the linked UNIV 101 and UNIV 102 classes. With an evolving redesign to address student engagement, the campus will continue to assess past and current efforts to impact first year retention for new first-time, full-time freshmen.

Phase 1 Implementation of MySuccess

MySuccess is a communication platform that promotes early alert and is being used on all campuses except UH Mānoa. MySuccess was launched at UH Hilo, starting Spring 2018, with focus on freshmen and participating instructors from ENG 100 , ENG 100T , MATH 135 , MATH 140 , MATH 140X , MATH 241 , and one section of CHEM 141 .

Implementation included coordinating outreach for flags and referrals by freshman advisors in the Career and Academic Advising Center and other selected offices such as the Student Support Services Program (SSSP), International Student Services, Minority Access and Achievement Program (MAAP) and the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center.

MySuccess deployed 2 surveys over the course of the Spring 2018 semester. Overall, 594 issues were identified, with 79 percent resolved by the end of the semester.

IV. Strategies to Achieve Targets

Efforts in each strategy will be assessed annually or otherwise, as deemed appropriate.


Over the next three years, undergraduate recruitment at UH Hilo will focus on reinforcing processes in its enrollment funnel and increasing the number of prospects, applicants, accepted, deposited and enrolled students every semester for both freshmen and transfer students. To meet recruitment targets, UH Hilo will continue to develop and maintain its brand identity and reputation as well as sustain strong relationships with local high schools, UH System campuses and local businesses.

To assist with growing enrollment over the course of the next few years, UH Hilo has adopted key third-party services to support recruitment processes, including the EAB/Royall recruitment platform to assist with increasing prospects, Signal Vine to maintain contact with students in the admission pipeline, and, a microscholarship platform aimed at connecting Hawaiʻi high school students to UH Hilo. UH Hilo will continue evaluating the effectiveness of current scholarship practices and revise how student aid may be leveraged to attract and retain a strong incoming class of undergraduate students each fall. Finally, UH Hilo will work closely with UH community colleges to increase the number of articulated 2+2 pathways that will cultivate a robust transfer population.

UH Hilo’s Education Advisory Board (EAB) Partnership

Approximately 450 institutions contract EAB for their enrollment and financial aid optimization tools (an actual list of clients is not available due to confidentiality). EAB is likely contracted with some of our competitors, as national data shows we are all competing for the same 75 percent or more of college-going students. What will make their work with us unique, is the predictive model they will use to pinpoint which students will likely enroll into UH Hilo, leaving us with the work of following through with engagement and communication strategies. Additionally, EAB will run a financial aid optimization model for us, to determine the best use of our limited financial assistance funds to enroll students.

  • With this partnership we will reach a larger number of prospective students (152 percent increase) by purchasing large volumes of names, and by identifying the right fit student and making effective contacts at critical times to saturate our primary and secondary markets.
  • As of December 2018, UH Hilo surpassed our total Fall 2018 freshman application numbers by 37 percent, with the final deadline still 6 months away. We have seen an 88 percent increase in all applications compared to this time last year.
  • EAB will assist UH Hilo in developing a financial aid optimization plan that includes a data analytical tool to implement effective financial aid leveraging strategies for enrollment growth.

Increase strategic use of financial aid for optimal enrollment

The Financial Aid Office will increase the number of incoming freshmen qualifying for four-year micro scholarships by 75 percent in the first year and then 50 percent over each subsequent year’s target. Additionally, UH Hilo will refine our institutional aid award procedures in an effort to improve usage rates by 10 percent each year.

Fully implement texting communications for accepted students

The Admissions Office will implement text plans to accepted students, including at minimum 10 scheduled text messages per student for Fall term and 6 messages for Spring term. In total, the goal is to deliver text messages to 1,400 participating students for 2018-19 with an increase of 10 percent over each prior year’s target.


A key recruitment strategy aims to grow UH Hilo enrollment by increasing the number of transfer students to UH Hilo, with special attention paid to transfers from the UH community colleges.

Fully implement Transfer Center

Establishment of a Transfer Center is key to addressing the needs of transfer students. The center will focus on work with prospective transfer students and campus offices to inform onboarding activities. Development of transfer services will focus on establishing and expanding orientation offerings for transfer students, in addition to engaging transfer students early with campus resources.

Increase UH Community College Transfer Events/Recruitment

Through the Transfer Center, UH Hilo will work in partnership with UH community colleges to participate in transfer events throughout the year. UH Hilo will also create mobile ads for the UH community colleges and select mainland campuses to expand marketing to prospective transfers.

Figure 9. Planned Transfer Recruitment Events

Increase number of 2+2 pathway available

To ease transfer and ensure coursework applies toward a UH Hilo degree, the campus will host a series of annual meetings with faculty and staff to create and/or refine 2+2 pathways between UH community colleges and UH Hilo. The first identified 2+2 articulation agreements and distance learning collaboration for degrees in Administration of Justice and Psychology are slated for 2018-19, with two 2+2 articulation agreements to be added every year until 2021.


Table 3. First Year Retention Rates for Fall 2019 - Fall 2021

Metric Fall 2016 Fall 2017 Fall 2018
Fall 2018
Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Fall 2021
Retention Rate 70.9% 68.2% 66.0% 68.0% 69.0% 70.0% 71.0%

UH Hilo will sharpen its focus on retention, especially in the current climate of flat high school graduation numbers, competition from other universities and employer demand in a tight job market. Successful retention at UH Hilo will mean investing in initiatives that cultivate student success, that make curriculum progression more efficient, that improve degree completion rates and that encourage student mobility for the campus’s diverse student population.

The campus has selected activities, based on research-based best practices, to stabilize and improve overall student retention, from a student’s first semester through graduation. The initiatives will focus on engaging and retaining students through improved communication, experiential learning experiences, leveraged peer-to-peer support, and alternative modes of educational delivery, while facilitating campus wide fluency about enrollment management and specifically, retention. Units from Student Affairs, Academic Affairs and Administrative Affairs will work in close collaboration to minimize redundancy, maximize cost efficiency and redirect funds to improve student success.

Develop a service learning / community engagement program across all academic units

UH Hilo is reorganizing the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) into a Center for Community Engagement (CCE), focused on creating meaningful interactions between UH Hilo and the community. CCE will pilot an interdisciplinary course cluster for engaged learning and assess the pilot for lessons learned. CCE will also define, develop, and coordinate significant service learning opportunities across campus.

Implement Purpose First integrating major choice, career exploration and employment advising

Beginning with an inaugural event in the Spring 2018, UH Hilo has committed to holding Annual Career Fairs for the entire campus designed to connect students with employers from across the state. Efforts to develop a shared plan for Career Advising between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, with implementation in Fall 2019, are already underway. Academic colleges have begun to identify career topics inclusion in all classes, from introductory surveys to career-specific classes. Methods designed to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts will be implemented in Fall 2019. In addition, UH Hilo will evaluate the expansion of meta-majors that encourage students to explore career pathways earlier in their academic experience.

Expand peer advising and peer tutoring / learning assistants with a focus on freshmen

UH Hilo will continue support for its successful peer tutoring program in ENG 100 and ENG 100T courses. This program closely mirrors the first-year English course co-requisite model endorsed by Complete College America (CCA). In the STEM fields, UH Hilo will expand the UH System learning assistant pilot program for gateway courses (MATH, PHYS, CHEM).

Establish retention data for individual programs and work with departments to identify ways to increase persistence

Depending upon the timing and availability of IRAO support, UH Hilo will identify and implement retention analysis process steps for all academic units, allowing these units to identify areas of successful retention and build upon that success in other units.

Create an undergraduate distance learning program with established majors and General Education courses to support them

Efforts are already underway to create an inventory of past distance learning (DL) course offerings, to research and report information on DL best practices, and to assess current and future DL curricular and equipment needs. UH Hilo will continue to work with departments to create strategic DL offerings to pair with 2+2 programs and to assist students in reaching their degree goals on time.

Adjust awarding of institutional aid to support retention

To improve the effectiveness of the Retention Grant Program, UH Hilo will continue to assess previous strategies for merit-based aid distributed through the academic colleges and adjust to impact student retention, progress to degree, and graduation.

  1. Historical

  2. Target

  3. Calls made by dean’s office staff and / or student workers starting 3/26/18

  4. Calls made by ‘Opihi Student Success