In a time of on-going concern about the health of the economy,
it is good to consider the economic impact of higher education
here in Hawai‘i and elsewhere. How do colleges and universities
affect the local and national economy? In what way does HPU
make a difference?
The role of higher education in boosting the economic well-being
of individual graduates is well known. In addition, there
is much evidence to show that colleges and universities also
play a significant role in generating growth in the overall
One recent study showed that about eight percent of the annual
growth in the American economy in the 1980s and 1990s could
be traced to the teaching and research conducted at our nation’s
colleges and universities. The reasons for this positive impact
are well established: education enhances the quality of the
labor force and those quality improvements translate into
higher levels of labor productivity and economic growth.
Hawai‘i has benefited dramatically from the contribution
of education, especially post-secondary education. Today more
than a quarter of the adults in the state have a bachelor’s
degree or better, and it has been estimated that 14 percent
of Hawai‘i’s economic growth in the years from 1959 (statehood)
to 1989 was due to higher education.
Hawai‘i Pacific University has educated thousands of Hawai‘i’s
citizens during its more than 35 years of teaching. Many of
them have remained in the islands and helped spark economic
growth here. Thousands of others have come to HPU to study
for a period of time and then have gone back to the U.S. mainland
where they have contributed to the economy there.
And of course, HPU has long been a leader in providing higher
education to students from around the world. Those students
too have returned to their home nations and made a difference
in advancing economic conditions for their fellow countrymen.