Web site helps students, colleges fight rising costs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Web site helps students, colleges fight rising costs

Celeste Indvik Celeste Indvik
Damien Lazzari Damien Lazzari
Scott Stensrud Scott Stensrud

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - With this down economy and the cost of college sky-rocketing, many parents cannot afford that hefty price tag of a campus visit.

That's especially true here in Hawaii for students in the Mainland.

Help for some students and Hawaii colleges is coming from the Internet. The Web site Youniversity.com features both Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade.

It's free to both of these colleges and it gives students an inside look at what these educational institutions have to offer.

Celeste Indvik is a freshman at HPU. She's on her way to becoming a nurse. But before she even began pursuing that dream, she looked at schools that would help her get there.

She was one of the lucky ones to actually go on a campus visit.

"I was at HPU, I walked around, that's when I knew for sure that I wanted to come here," Indvik said.

For Damien Lazzari, it wasn't an option.

"No I wasn't able to visit any campuses, it was too expensive for plane tickets and traveling," he said.

Enter Youniversity.tv. It gives students like Lazzari a virtual campus visit.

"I think that's definitely an advantage, having the Internet," Lazzari said. "You can just go on the Web site and get pictures of where you're gonna be at, it's too expensive to travel around."

Before she set foot on HPU's campus, Indvik took a look at this Web site.

"I watched the video on it and I thought, I knew I had to go visit, I just wanted to see how beautiful it was for myself," Indvik said.

HPU officials do not know how many students have used the Web site or if it's made a big impact on enrollment here, but they think it helps, even if it's just a little.

"We actually direct students to it from our own Web site, it's a third party, so in this day of social media, students tend to believe things from other people than directly from the source," HPU vice-president of enrollment management Scott Stensrud said.

Stensrud does know one thing for sure. Students are using the Web site at one particular stage in their selection process.

"I think students are using it more on the early stages to get a feel for campus, when you look at the cost of a college education, they're gonna still go visit the campus," he said.

But Stensrud warns these types of sites shouldn't take the place of an actual campus visit.

"It is important for students and parents to know what they're getting when they're looking at the different college search sites and make sure that it's one that's neutral," he said.

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