March 7-10, 2017
There are currently about 16,000 students from Vietnam pursuing degrees from colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Of this amount, Hawaii attracts less than 1%. How can Hawaii increase the number of Vietnamese students that choose to study in the islands? DBEDT and representatives from the Study Hawaii Education Consortium recently met with a delegation from the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco to engage in this discussion.
The delegation leader, Deputy Consul General Tran Hanh, listed the top three factors that influence the selection of a study destination: 1) Quality of education; 2) Safety and security; and 3) Cost. Another factor not often discussed but that has significant influence is having a family member living there. States with large Vietnamese populations, such as California and Texas, experience a high number of Vietnamese students in their institutions. So one suggestion is to work with the local Vietnamese community to encourage family members who may be considering studying in the U.S. to come to Hawaii. Other groups to target that can help promote study to Hawaii are the various Vietnamese student associations that exist in the individual institutions.
Study Hawaii members from University of Hawaii-Manoa, Kapiolani Community College, Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University listened to the delegation as they offered information and advice on how to attract more Vietnamese students to Hawaii. The consortium, comprised of the majority of post-secondary educational institutions in Hawaii, as well as some of the K-12 schools, share a common goal of making Hawaii a top study destination for international students. International study in Hawaii is a $107 million per year industry. International students’ spending generated $16 million in state tax revenues.
DBEDT is working with Study Hawaii to elevate the State’s efforts in attracting international students to Hawaii. The consortium is developing a more targeted strategy and will be seeking additional funds from the Legislature for this effort.