© 2024 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

College enrollment rates remain lower than pre-pandemic years, report says

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

The College and Career Readiness Indicators report tracks the academic achievement of Hawaiʻi's graduating public school students — including how well they transition to higher education.

The latest report showed there was an overall increase, from 50% to 51%, in college enrollment from the start of the pandemic. However, the average remains 4% lower than prior to the pandemic.

The report mentioned that enrollment rates among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students saw a steep decline in 2022. According to the data, Native Hawaiian students saw the largest decline in enrollment rates — decreasing from 44% in 2019 to 34% in the classes of 2021 and 2022.

"We know that the pandemic didn't affect every part of our community equally," said Stephen Schatz, executive of Hawaiʻi P-20.

"Then in an education context, this has meant that students who receive free and reduced lunch, schools where there are populations of students who are typically underrepresented in higher-ed struggled more," Schatz said.

Schatz told HPR there are a number of factors that can result in lower enrollment rates among students — such as economic hardships or the time away from school needed to help family members.

"It's important to remember that this most recent classes were really impacted by the pandemic," said Schatz. "They were sophomores when the schools shut down that spring."

The missed classroom time is also reflected in the report's academic transitions. About 46% of students from the class of 2022 enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi had completed a college-level math course in high school or enrolled in college-level math in their first semester. That's a percentage point lower than the previous graduating class.

English also saw a significant drop. About 59% of students from the most recent graduating class had completed a college-level English course in high school or enrolled in one during their first semester. That's a six percent drop from the previous year, and its lowest level since 2016.

Schatz told HPR there are efforts between UH and the state Department of Education to engage students and create pathways to post-secondary education.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Related Stories