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Hawaiʻi Pacific University says new student enrollment is up 34%, housing expansion on the horizon

HPU Campus hawaii pacific university
Hawaiʻi Pacific University

Hawaiʻi Pacific University says despite the pandemic, it has seen record enrollment — a 34% increase in new students for the 2021-22 academic year.

The nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported in June that undergraduate enrollment across the nation fell by 3.5% in the spring semester of 2021 due to the pandemic.

HPU President John Gotanda said the university was able to buck the trend by continuing to offer in-person classes and creating protocols for a safe environment. He also credited the university’s robust online presence, digital marketing, and social media efforts.

"We really did put a lot of thought and effort into how are we going to reach our prospective students and I think that really resonated — that we were able to find innovative and creative ways to reach them during the pandemic, whereas others may not have been able to do so in the ways that we did," Gotanda said.

Gotanda said the pandemic created challenges for the university’s international students as borders were closed. But he said they made up for that with a boost in domestic students, both locally and from out of state.

HPU said it's leasing six floors of the Park Shore Waikiki Hotel for overflow student housing this year.

Gotanda said a long-term student-housing expansion and downtown science labs are next for the university.

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