Some UH programs victims to budget cuts

Danielle Clements
Danielle Clements
Rosalyn Kuhle
Rosalyn Kuhle
Dorothy Craven
Dorothy Craven

By Leland Kim - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - The state's budget woes, undoubtedly, continue to impact the University of Hawaii system. Slashing $76 million from the budget has affected students, faculty and entire programs.

As the saying goes, students are learning to do more with less. Some say classes are more jam packed than they've seen before, while others haven't really noticed a difference so far.

At the largest campus in the University of Hawaii system, students hurry to their next class. More than 88,000 students are enrolled this year at UH campuses. The budget cut has hit some harder than others.

"I see them raising prices. Tuition is always going up, parking is going up," said Danielle Clements, a UH Manoa junior who is switching majors from biology to political science. "But as far as directly affecting me to the point where I'm losing out on education, I don't think it's affected me yet."

But it's hit students like Rosalyn Kuhle hard. This Spanish major wants to switch to speech pathology, but found out she could not because of budget cuts.

"I was very upset," she said. "To be honest, I was upset mostly because I didn't know beforehand. I didn't know until I talked to a counselor that I could not get into this program."

The speech pathology program has seen a huge blow to its funding. It's been forced to "stop out" its undergraduate program.

So this means current undergraduate students who are in the program can finish out their degree, but if funding doesn't improve, they could all disappear.

Interim Chair Dorothy Craven says the current situation is disheartening because students like Kuhle who have bilingual skills are much needed.

"Most of our students are not just general mainland type students," said Craven. "They have specialties like Spanish. I have another one who speaks Korean."

Kuhle can either major in something else or transfer to a school on the mainland.

"I'd like to say that it's very unfortunate that people can't study what they'd like to study and I hope they can bring the program back," she said. "I don't know how long that will take. I don't know when the funding will come back but I know that's what I want to do and I just hope that things turn around."

Budget cuts currently don't impact the speech pathology master's program, but there are similar stories in some liberal arts programs of classes being canceled.

University officials say they need to make some tough choices in these tough times.