Hawai`i students propel UH Hilo enrollment to another new high

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Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Contact: Dr. Rose Tseng, (808) 974-7444, Alyson Kakugawa Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo surpassed another milestone this fall, thanks largely to an increase in students from Hawai`i.

Preliminary figures reveal Fall 2006 enrollment grew by 2.5 percent or 86 students to 3,517, surpassing last fall’s all-time high of 3,431. The fall numbers also extended a period of growth dating back to 1997 totaling some 33 percent.

“We’re very pleased with our continued growth in enrollment,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng. “We view this development as a validation that more and more students are recognizing UH Hilo as a quality, comprehensive, residential university.

“Our beautiful campus and excellent faculty and staff and ‘student-centered environment’ are well recognized by students,” she added.

The University’s long-standing commitment to attracting more students from throughout the State continues to pay dividends. UH Hilo was the “university of choice” this fall for 2,167 students from Hawai`i, an increase of 131 from Fall 2005. In-State residents now make up nearly 62 percent of UH Hilo’s student body, compared to 60.3 percent a year ago. The Hawai`i freshmen class showed a gain of over 7.5 percent for this fall.

“It’s been very exciting to develop and implement various initiatives over the past several years to attract more resident students to UH Hilo,” said Dr. Keith Miser, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Those efforts are now paying off, and as a result, we’re very optimistic about the future.”

Those efforts have included special campus visitation days for high school students and guidance counselors, the Chancellor’s scholarship program, and increased financial aid opportunities. The recruiting outreach will receive a significant boost this school year, with the opening of an Admissions Office and hiring of a recruiter on O`ahu, where the bulk of the State’s population resides.

UH Hilo’s strongest attraction continues to be closest to home, providing a “away from home, yet not too far” experience for many. Roughly one-third of the student body is made up of Big Island families and around 20 percent of the enrolled students come from the Hilo-area high schools: Hilo; Waiakea; and St. Joseph.

University officials were also pleased with a sizeable increase in the number of Native Hawaiian students enrolled this fall. Students identifying themselves as having Hawaiian ancestry increased 3.9 percent from last fall’s total of 547 to 701, or about 20 percent of the student body, under a new Systemwide method of identifying Native Hawaiian students.

The percentage increase in the number of Hawai`i resident students produced an intended slight reduction in the percentage of non-resident students as targeted under the University’s resident focused recruitment plan developed in 2005. This fall’s enrollment of 1,350 non-resident students totals 38.4 percent of the overall student body, compared to 39.7 percent a year ago.

The University’s reputation as one of the nation’s most diverse campuses is also reflected in this fall’s enrollment. Nationally, all 50 states are represented with students enrolled at UH Hilo topped by California with 217.

On the international level, the University continues to attract large numbers as well, with international students accounting for 10.3 percent of the overall population. A total of 364 students from 33 countries enrolled this fall.

The University attracts the largest number of international students from Japan (87), the Federated States of Micronesia (75), Republic of the Marshall Islands (21) and Republic of Korea (20).

“The bottom line is that the University is becoming a more popular choice for students from Hawai`i, yet maintains an important overall diversity that makes UH Hilo a very special and unique educational experience,” Tseng said.

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