By Kristine Uyeno
Some of Hawaii’s public schools are following year-round programs, but could Hawaii’s only public university be next?
University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple is thinking of ways to turn the school into a year-round college, so students could get their degrees on time and the school could possibly increase revenue.
Apple recently talked about the idea during one of his on-campus meetings with students. He says offering programs year-round has been a goal of his since he joined the university nearly two years ago. He says he’s been talking to various deans and directors about ways to offer more academic programs throughout the year, including the summer and winter months.
The union for the school’s faculty says it’s an idea that’s been discussed and supported by them, for years.
“It made a lot of sense for helping students complete their baccalaureate degrees and other degrees in a real timely fashion,” said J.N. Musto, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.
The biggest hurdle is getting lawmakers to provide the general funds to do it.
“Structurally and from a business standpoint, I think the idea is a sound one,” said Sen. Sam Slom, (R) Hawaii Kai, Aina Haina.
Sen. Slom is on the higher education committee. He agrees that money would be the issue and says the university already has enough money as it is.
“I think they do if they would reposition the money and use it more wisely, but if they want more money, they’re going to have to come up with a good business plan,” he said.
Officials believe a plan must also show that adding a semester would add students.
“If, however, the trimester is simply seen as a way to increase revenues, that could only come if it could show we could produce a significant increase in our enrollment,” Musto said.
Students KHON2 talked to say going to college year-round should be an option, not mandatory.
“I wouldn’t want to enroll into a college where you have to go to school for 12 months, because we have to take a break,” said student Michelle Tellio.
“We can’t do 12 months because we’ll actually lose the will to go to school and then what’s the point of going to school if you don’t want to be there?” said student Odille Capco.
Senators Brian Taniguchi and Gil Kahele, who head up the Senate Higher Education Committee, says it’s a nice idea to think about, but they would need to see a proposal in black and white before forming an opinion.