More Hawaii public high school graduates are choosing to go to college, but fewer are choosing to stay home. And that has the University of Hawaii campaigning more aggressively.
According to a study by the P-20 Initiative, which has been monitoring the trend for the past seven years, more than half of Hawaii's public high school graduates go on to higher education. And those grads are better prepared, too.
"The last indicator, for the class of 2014, we've seen 56 percent of their graduates going to college," says Karen Lee, of the P-20 Initiative, "A few years ago we were at 49 percent, 50 percent so we've really seen a pretty big increase."
But it appears many of those students are attending college on the mainland. Enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the community colleges is down 14 percent in four years.
The trend has UH administrators buying full page newspaper ads, visiting more local high schools to help with the enrollment process, and holding more financial aid workshops. And the campaigns need to be ramped up on the mainland too: the number of out-of-state students is also down.
"I came out here for a trip and I just kind of fell in love with the place," says Marguerite Reeves, a UH Manoa student from Washington state.
Looloo Amante, from California, says social media has made it easier to leave home and still keep in touch with loved ones. So distance isn't a deterrent anymore.
"We're Facetime-ing, we're Snapchatting, Facebook helped with my long distance family as well," says Amante.
Both women know Hawaii students who dream of going away. "What's it like out there," Reeves says her Hawaii friends ask her.
She says independence is part of the college experience and she predicts more students will be leaving home to get their education.