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KCC opens with enrollment bump

PUHI — The food was pretty much gone with about an hour left before the cafeteria closed yesterday.

“We were busy,” said Laurie Suganuma, one of the Kaua‘i Community College cafeteria staff members. “Today was the first day of classes and we didn’t know what to expect, or how much to prepare for.”

Hundreds of students ended their summer vacation as KCC opened its fall semester yesterday.

“Enrollment is definitely up,” said KCC Chancellor Peggy Cha who was attending a ceremony celebrating Hawai‘i’s first Workforce Integration Apprenticeship program at Garden Island Collision Repair.

That program, a collaborative effort between KCC, the Department of Labor and private industry, is one of the new facets to the fall offerings at the college.

“Things are looking up,” said Dean of Students Earl Nishiguchi, as he recapped the first day enrollment numbers. “For the first time in a while, we knew on Friday, things were going to be good. Friday we had over a thousand students enrolled and school hadn’t started yet.”

Nishiguchi credits the new One Stop Center as being a prompter in people’s minds as they drive past the college.

“The One Stop Center is right at the front of the campus and people cannot help but see it when they pass,” Nishiguchi said.

On a more logistical note, Nishiguchi said the new building is more spacious and students are spread out more while taking care of the various items that need tending on the traditional first day of school.

Based on figures released by Nishiguchi, at 7 a.m., KCC had an enrollment of 1,041 students, or an increase of 6.8 percent from the fall semester of 2007.

Despite this increase, KCC showed the least percentage of increase from within the University of Hawai‘i community college system.

The biggest gain was shown at Hawai‘i where opening day enrollment topped 2,780 or a 14.3 percent increase. Leeward Community College followed with a 12.6 percent increase in enrollment with 6,527 students registered.

Nishiguchi is pleased that enrollment figures are increasing within all the colleges within the university system.

Of the increase in students at KCC, Nishiguchi said the biggest increase came in the high school Running Start Early Admit program.

“We showed a 40 percent increase in the Running Start program,” Nishiguchi said. “This was the biggest increase in student enrollment, but our goal is to triple this number in the next year.”

With the doors to classes opening yesterday, Nishiguchi said registration for classes and class changes takes place through Friday at the newly-opened One Stop Center.

“We’ll be opening until 6 p.m. to accommodate students this evening,” Nishiguchi said. “Otherwise, they have to register during normal business hours.”

When final figures are in following this final week of registration, Nishiguchi anticipates an enrollment that will surpass the 1,100-student mark.

“Things are definitely looking up,” he said.

UH community colleges

2008 First Day Enrollment

As of Aug. 25, 7 a.m. (not official enrollment)

Campus Fall 2007 Fall 2008 Change % change

Hawai‘i 2,382 2,780 398 14.3%

Honolulu 3,955 4,075 120 2.9%

Kapi‘olani 7,362 8.054 692 8.6%

Kaua‘i 970 1,041 71 6.8%

Leeward 5,702 6,527 825 12.6%

Maui 2,863 3,092 229 7.4%

Windward 1,725 1,860 135 7.3%

Totals 24,959 27,429 2,470 9.0%

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