KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii-West Oahu is the newest four-year college campus in the state, with just under 2,700 students.
But while it may be one of the smaller schools in the UH system, its students have seen some of the biggest tuition hikes. From 2011 to 2014, tuition increased 23 percent -- that's three times tuition increases seen nationally over the same period. The additional cost to students: nearly $1,200.
"It definitely puts a strain on students. Any increases do," said Ryan Sommer, UH-West Oahu student body president.
Still, tuition at UH-West Oahu remains relatively affordable, at about $3,456 a semester for full-time resident students. Students can expect another increase this fall. Tuition will go up by $144 for full-time students.
According to university officials, construction is in part to blame for the higher tuition costs. The new Kapolei campus was completed in 2012.
Another factor is enrollment. The number of students on campus grew 42 percent during that time, and the need for more professors was essential.
"The cost of instruction has gone up. Things like academic support services, student services all those things go along with enrollment increases," said Director of Communications Leila Wai Shimokawa.
Sommer, a senior, says although he's paying more now than he was when he was a freshman, he's OK with it.
"I think that I'm getting a really good deal. It's actually the reason I chose to go to UH West Oahu. For the tuition, for the cost of education it's on point," he said.
Tuition costs at UH-West Oahu still fall well below the national average of more than $16,000 a year. Students here also pay about $4,000 less than students at UH-Manoa.
"I feel like I'm paying the right amount for my education," said senior Timothy Iinuma.
Senior Haylie Culp agreed. "There's a lot of things students are voicing they want, but we can't do that without raising those fees. So I totally understand a fee increase."