Smiling U H Manoa students

There have been a record number of applications and record highs in first-year student enrollment over the past two years at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and at UH Hilo. Both campuses have stepped up student recruitment efforts as college enrollment is declining across the nation and the competition to attract students increases. According to university administrators from both campuses, one factor in the recent success is EAB, a nationally recognized student recruitment company.

EAB provides critical services including targeted marketing, social media and mail outreach to high school students that has vastly expanded our pool of prospects,” said Roxie Shabazz, UH Mānoa Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions. “The service they provide coupled with multiple other initiatives and improvements that the admissionʻs office has undertaken the last four years are really starting to bear fruit.”

UH Mānoa and UH Hilo are both in year three of five year contracts with EAB—$2.56 million for UH Mānoa and $1.86 million for UH Hilo. The company is credited with broadening the university’s scope and reach to prospective students and helping to engage prospective high school students, starting in their sophomore years. That engagement with students and their parents continues throughout high school, and their parents through multiple communication platforms including targeted marketing, social media, email and traditional mail campaigns.

Record enrollment and application numbers

For the past two academic years, UH Mānoa has seen its highest first-year enrollment numbers in school history. A record 2,209 first-time freshmen enrolled in fall 2018, the largest freshman class in the university’s 112-year history and the first time the 2,000 mark was surpassed. The fall 2019 freshman class enrollment was just short of 2018’s record high at 2,120. UH Hilo saw an increase of 8.7 percent in fall 2019 with a record 450 first-time freshmen.

In 2019, UH Mānoa received nearly 19,000 undergraduate applications, a 33-percent jump over 2018’s record number 16,000 first-year applications. At UH Hilo, freshman applications increased by 129 percent from 1,814 in 2018 to 4,145 in 2019.

“Working with EAB has allowed us to benefit from the wide range of institutions they partner with,” said UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes, who is responsible for student recruitment. “They are able to provide us with insights into the competitive market in ways that others are not. Since they are working with multiple campuses here in Hawaiʻi, they understand the unique challenges we face and have been able to recommend adjustments to better position ourselves to prospective students.”

Smiling U H Hilo students
Photo credit: Raiatea Arcuri