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HPU cuts administrators as enrollment drops

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 5:04 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013

Hawaii Pacific University has cut about 20 administrative positions to offset a drop in enrollment and amid a shift in priorities to raise the school’s profile to become one of the top 10 private universities serving the Western U.S., school officials said.

HPU President Geoffrey Bannister said in a memo emailed to staff Wednesday that the school was forced to make “difficult budgetary and personnel changes” this week because of “enrollment fluctuations” over the last five years.

He added that “going forward, we need to continue to make strategic investments in the future of the institution in line with HPU’s new strategic plan. These strategic investments in one area have to be funded by savings in another if HPU is to remain competitive.”

Enrollment at the state’s largest private university has dropped to about 7,500 students from 8,000 students in that time frame.

“It’s not an enormous drop. It’s been a small and steady drop,” said Todd Simmons, vice president for marketing and communications. “We are heavily tuition reliant as a private, not-for-profit university. If we experience a downturn in that area, it does create some challenges as we’re very market sensitive.”

Simmons declined to say specifically how many staff were laid off, but said the cuts affect less than 2 percent of HPU’s staff and numbered fewer than 25 employees. He said none of HPU’s more than 600 full- and part-time faculty were affected. The school’s website says it has more than 1,600 faculty and staff.

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