Legislature slashes operating funds to UH by 10% over next 2 years

University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Hawaii at Manoa(Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 2:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lawmakers slashed the University of Hawaii’s general fund appropriations budget by about 10% in the legislative session that just ended, diverting more than $90 million over the next two years away from UH programming.

The bulk of the cut is to the UH-Manoa, the institution’s flagship campus, which saw a reduction of $35.6 million to its fiscal year 2022 general funds operation budget and a $30 million cut in 2023.

In a post on the university’s website, UH Chief Financial Officer Kalbert Young wrote the Legislature’s “end product ... does not reflect a balanced or thoughtful approach to the overall UH budget.”

“As is clearly evident, the budget passed by the Legislature demonstrates an approach that disproportionately reduces funding to the university,” Young wrote.

“UH Manoa, by far, is the most severely impacted in the budget since it will have the largest amount of general funding reduction as well as the largest percentage reduction than any other campus.”

Young said the Board of Regents had submitted a budget request seeking an additional $4.7 million. The additional funding was to go to athletics and the Hawaii Promise Program.

The UH fared a bit better in its capital fund improvement requests.

Oddly, Young said the Legislature set aside $42.5 million for a “research and education center” affiliated with UH community colleges ― even though that wasn’t requested by the Board of Regents.

“It is unclear what that project entails,” Young said.

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