College of Pharmacy/Hawaiʻi students boost Fall 2007 enrollment

September 12, 2007

Fall 2007 enrollment at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo surpassed 3,600 as the new College of Pharmacy seated its inaugural class and the percentage of students from Hawaiʻi continue to trend upward.

Preliminary figures released by the University of Hawaiʻi System revealed UH Hilo’s enrollment grew by 2.6 percent to 3,608 from Fall 2006. The increase extended a series of enrollment gains spanning 10 years and totaling 38.8 percent. During that period, UH Hilo’s growth averaged 3.4 percent per year, but was limited in part due to a shortage of housing units, which caused a number of in-State students from other islands to abandon their plans to attend the University.

“To maintain this steady rate of growth over an extended period, despite the need for more student housing, speaks volumes about UH Hilo’s overall quality,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng. “This bodes well for the future, because it suggests our rate of growth will increase once we get that additional housing.”

Much of this year’s growth could be traced to the new College of Pharmacy, which welcomed a total of 91 students in its inaugural class. More than 60 have already obtained bachelor degrees as they entered the program, which will lead to a Doctor of Pharmacy degree following a four-year curriculum.

“The College of Pharmacy represents a historic new milestone at UH Hilo and gives our students an important new academic,” said Dr. Phil Castille, vice chancellor for academic affairs. “With the strong student interest shown thus far, especially by Hawaiʻi resident students, we have every expectation that this program will be a major draw.

“We are establishing UH Hilo as a center for pharmaceutical education, research and patient care, while also addressing the need for qualified pharmacists in Hawaiʻi and the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.

UH Hilo’s commitment to increasing its percentage of students from Hawaiʻi made additional headway during the past year. This fall saw the University attract 2,339 students from across the State to post an increase of 172 students or 7.94 percent from Fall 2006. In-State residents now make up nearly 65 percent of UH Hilo’s student body, compared to 61.6 percent a year ago.

The University’s percentage of in-State students was boosted in part by strong continued gains in students of Native Hawaiian ancestry, which increased by 35 to 740 or 20.5 percent. That gain virtually mirrored a 36 percent spike in the number of students enrolling in Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, which increased from 85 students last fall to 116.

The number of students of Filipino ancestry also posted impressive gains, growing by 34 students to 214 for an increase of nearly 19 percent.

As the percentage of Hawaiʻi students maintained its upward trend, the percentage of non-resident students continued to decline, consistent with the University’s resident-focused recruitment plan. This fall’s enrollment of 1,268 non-resident students spans all 50 states and totals 35 percent of the overall student body, compared to 38.4 percent a year ago.

The downward trend in non-resident students carried over to international students, although the lower overall number is arguably more diverse. A total of 329 international students enrolled this fall, comprising 9.1 percent of the overall student body, compared with 364 or 10.3 percent last year. The largest numbers of students come from Japan (92), Federated States of Micronesia (82), Republic of South Korea (42), and the Marshall Islands (28). Despite fewer international students, the number of countries represented actually increased from 33 to 41.

“All in all, there is a lot to like in this report as we’ve accomplished three primary goals,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Keith Miser. “We continued to grow our enrollment, while increasing our percentage of students from Hawaiʻi and still managed to create even greater diversity.”

See more news from 2007.