UH president says proposed 46 percent tuition increase is ‘reasonable’

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—The University of Hawaii presented a proposed tuition schedule that would take effect in the Fall 2012 semester and last through Spring 2017.

At a meeting of the Board of Regents today at UH Maui College, UH president M.R.C. Greenwood briefed members on plans for the new tuition schedule and the university’s anticipated requests of the 2012 Hawaii State Legislature.

“We have sustained over $86 million in cuts to our core operating budget over the last two years,” Greenwood told Regents. “But we must continue to meet our obligation of making an affordable, high-quality college degree within the reach of Hawaii’s people. The modest tuition increases we are proposing are prudent, within the reach of our students, and absolutely critical to our long-term survival. Our top priority with the increased revenue will be putting more money and resources into financial aid so that we can still accommodate those students who are willing to work and study hard for that increasingly important college degree.”

Under the plan, tuition is scheduled to go up $264 per semester at UH Mnoa in the first year, $240 per semester at UH Hilo, and $96 per semester at the community colleges. UH West Oahu, which Greenwood said faces start-up costs that more established campuses do not, will consider a $458 per semester increase in the first year.

“These increases, we believe, are reasonable,” said Greenwood, “and they were kept as low as possible in light of how Hawaii families are struggling financially in these times. These increases will allow us to provide more financial aid, start addressing our long-delayed repair and maintenance backlog, upgrade our business systems to better manage enrollment and the need for classes, and expand the degree offerings in fields that we know will offer good-paying jobs of the future. It’s an investment we absolutely have to make in our only public institution of higher learning in Hawaii.”

The next step in this process will be to present the proposed tuition schedules to the community statewide. Meetings are currently being scheduled on all UH campuses to explain the increases and hear feedback from the public. The process is expected to take several weeks and the final recommendation will be presented to the Board of Regents for action at a meeting in mid-fall.

In January, the UH Board of Regents extended Greenwood’s appointment as president for an additional three years, to run through July 31, 2015.

And earlier this week, UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw announced that upon conclusion of her five-year appointment in June 2012, she will be completing her service as chancellor. Hinshaw was named chancellor after a nationwide search and assumed the position in 2007.

A schedule of public meetings, PDF of the presentation to the Board of Regents, and a link to the current tuition schedule can be found at www.hawaii.edu/news/tuition.

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