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UH Enrollment Down For 7th Year In Face Of Strong Job Market

Flickr - University of Hawaii West Oahu
File photo of University of Hawaii West Oahu

Enrollment at University of Hawai?i campuses fell for the seventh year in a row, and UH is hoping a statewide media campaign can help reverse that trend. 

Last week, the university reported a 2 percent drop in enrollment with 9 of the 10 campuses seeing reductions. Windward Community College is the only campus to see a boost.

The university system did, however, see an increase in first-time freshmen with more than 2,000 new students enrolling for fall. 

UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl says the university’s enrollment woes reflect a national trend of declining numbers since the end of the recession. Colleges and universities are now competing for a shrinking pool of students lured away by a hot job market. 

The media campaign called “Ignite the Fire Within” launches today and aims to remind everyone – not just high school students – that there’s a place for them in the UH system.

"If you just got your GED cause you didn’t do well in high school, that was the route you had to take – there’s a place for you at a community college," said Meisenzahl. "If you want to pursue a Ph.D. in one of the top programs in the world offered at UH – there’s a place for you at UH. And everywhere in between."

He says UH has been striving to improve recruitment for the past four years, but the fruits of those efforts won’t be seen overnight.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at khiraishi@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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