KAHULUI - Spring-semester enrollment at the University of Hawaii Maui College has risen 5.3 percent over the same semester last year.
As of Thursday, 4,308 students were enrolled at the college, 230 more than last spring semester, said Emily Sullivan, director of marketing and community relations at the college.
The college had been enjoying steady increases, but the recession of 2008 exploded growth. For fall semester 2009, the then-Maui Community College enrollment skyrocketed 26 percent. Increases have leveled since then, but growth continues at a higher pace than before the recession, Sullivan said.
"It is an increase over the increases," said Sullivan, noting that UH-Maui College enrollment has grown 53 percent in the last five years. "It is still continuing to rise."
Many unemployed Mauians have returned to school to improve their skills or to learn new jobs, she said. Meanwhile, the college continues to upgrade its curriculum and facilities to attract more students.
More four-year degrees are in the offing, and the new science building will be completed next year, Sullivan said. With the new facility, the college will offer astronomy, technology and engineering courses, she added.
The UH-Maui College enrollment increase contributed to a record number of students enrolled in the University of Hawaii system for spring semester. A total of 56,716 students are enrolled in the 10 UH campuses statewide, officials reported.
UH-system spring enrollments have increased for the fourth straight year and are up 22.5 percent since 2007.
"The University of Hawaii is committed to increasing educational attainment in the state, and the enrollment is the first step," said Linda Johnsrud, UH executive vice president for academic affairs/provost, in a statement. "Providing quality education to our students will help Hawaii thrive in an increasingly competitive global economy."
Hawaii Community College posted the largest numerical gain in the UH system with 301 more students for a total enrollment of 3,553 students for the spring semester. UH-West Oahu showed the largest percentage growth with a 9.8 percent increase from the previous spring semester. The institution's total enrollment is 1,403 students.
Enrollments and percentage gains at the other institutions in the UH system follow:
* UH-Manoa, 19,242 students, 0.2 percent decline.
* UH-Hilo, 3,961 students, 2.5 percent increase.
* Kapiolani Community College, 8,878 students, 1.1 percent increase.
* Honolulu Community College, 4,333 students, 3.6 percent decrease.
* Leeward Community College, 7,263 students, 2.6 percent increase.
* Windward Community College, 2,463 students, 6.9 percent increase.
* Kauai Community College, 1,330 students, 1.2 percent decrease.