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Growing UH West Oahu may cap enrollment next year

By Cam Tran
Published On: Sep 12 2013 03:05:00 PM HST

The University of Hawaii West Oahu could be capping its student enrollment next year. West Oahu saw a 20 percent jump in students since moving to its new campus in Kapolei.

KAPOLEI, Hawaii -

The University of Hawaii West Oahu could be capping its student enrollment next year.

West Oahu saw a 20-percent jump in students since moving to its new campus in Kapolei.

That up-tick in enrollment could have a negative side effect.  

One glance in the classroom, the hallways and the library and you can see the University of Hawaii West Oahu population is growing.  

"You can tell in our parking structure, the student population has definitely increased," said Ewa Beach freshman Skye Burrows.

A large part of the growth is due to the new campus in Kapolei and, in part, because West Oahu used to be known as a transfer school. That has changed with a big boost to the number of students in the freshman class.

The UH West Oahu's Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs says the students aren't outgrowing the facilities but the faculty.
 
The campus has 50 full time staffers and 70 part-time lecturers to handle 2,400 students.

"It would be great to get an additional 30 faculty over the next two years to take care of the growth we are currently experiencing," said Dr. Lui Hokoana, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. "That could also be used to build new degree programs."

Hokoana wants to add five more degrees including nursing, creative media and physical therapy.  But that all comes at a cost.

"We'll be asking for more money at the legislature," Hokoana added. "It's very important we get more operational money because we want to be sure that these students at UH West Oahu in Kapolei are provided the first-rate, quality education experience."

The vice chancellor says an additional $3 to $5 million will help with the enrollment boost. He said the consequence of not receiving those funds may result in limiting enrollment.

"We don't want to bring these students to the campus if we cannot provide them with a quality higher education," Hokoana said.

He concluded that he did not want to consider a tuition hike to raise those funds since many of the students have already planned out their costs for the next four to five years based on the current rate.

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