UH seeks tuition hikes to tackle $500M in backlogged repairs

UH proposes tuition hikes to deal with maintenance backlog
Published: Feb. 23, 2016 at 10:59 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2016 at 1:52 AM HST
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MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii officials are proposing another round of tuition hikes to help deal with a deferred maintenance backlog of $503 million.

Under a three-year plan, students would see tuition increases of up to 2 percent annually starting in the 2017-18 school year.

Some students said they'd swallow the hikes in exchange for a better-looking campus.

"Walking around, you can see some buildings from the outside are kind of deteriorating or some buildings aren't in use anymore cause they're too old," said freshman Amateo Flores.

UH-Manoa undergraduates would pay $216 more in each of the three years, with in-state tuition eventually reaching $11,520 annually. Full-time graduate students would see a $312 jump each year. Students at the other UH campuses face smaller hikes.

"We're going to continue to try to maintain our costs, make sure that it's affordable and accessible to all, but at the same time we also have to have 21st century learning facilities," UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said.

Under the plan, roughly $100 million dollars of the backlog would be eliminated with revenue bonds serviced with the new tuition funds, according to officials. But so far, lawmakers have been unwilling to give UH the necessary approval to float bonds for the work.

"I would suggest that they look internally and figure out a way to manage this repair and maintenance problem without putting it on the backs of current students and future students," said state Rep. Isaac Choy (D, Manoa-Moiliili), chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.

The Board of Regents will review the proposal at its meeting on February 25 in Hilo. Statewide public hearings on the plan will begin in April.

"If it would help the buildings and help the school and help the reputation of UH Manoa then it would be even better, I think. I think it's worth it," said Flores.

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