University of Hawaii tuition increases approved for campuses - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

University of Hawaii tuition increases approved for campuses statewide

M.R.C. Greenwood M.R.C. Greenwood

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii's Board of Regents approved tuition increases for campuses statewide in a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Full-time students at the Manoa campus will see a tuition increase of 35 percent over the next five years.

Before deciding on the tuition hike, board members heard from UH president M.R.C. Greenwood, who emphasized that the increases were needed in the face of state budget cuts.

"We have worked hard in the face of this adversity, to find other resources that will help our students as much as we can," Greenwood said.

However, a handful of students who testified at the Regents' meeting at the Hawaii
Carpenters Union Training Center in Kapolei against the increase were not convinced.

"The UH system administration should first consider how they can generate revenue for their respective campuses, in addition to spending the money they do have in a more responsible manner," said Anna Koethe, president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii.

"Will it be for pay increases for our teachers? Hiring of more teachers? Facility maintenance or construction, sustainment efforts, or where?," asked student Martin Trevino.

The regents approved the new tuition schedule, which would increase a year's tuition at the Manoa campus from the current $8,400 to $11,376 in the 2016-2017 school year.

A full year's tuition at UH-Hilo and UH-West Oahu would also increase to $7,656 a year by 2016-2017.

"This has been one of the toughest issues we have taken on in our service as Regents," said UH Board of Regents Chair Eric Martinson. "We are well aware of the economic struggle that many Hawai'i families are experiencing. We made this decision with the best interests of Hawai'i's citizens and our only public higher education institution in mind, and with the certainty that accompanying increased financial aid and outreach counseling will continue to make a college degree accessible to all who desire it."

According to a news release, the university has sustained more than $86 million in cuts to its core operating budget over the last two years. During this same period, enrollment has increased to a record high of 60,000 students, an increase of 14,000 students from a decade ago.

"The university has made every effort to preserve services that directly impact students and has made significant adjustments in its operations to address these budget cuts, including salary reductions, hiring freezes, travel restrictions, energy conservation and other measures," said Greenwood. "In the meantime we have made extraordinary efforts to, in the face of declining public dollars, pursue and win grants and extramural funding that have gone directly into programs and opportunities to benefit our students."

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