The Office of the Vice President for Budget and Finance provided an update this week to students, faculty and staff on stipends, fellowships and scholarship payments.

As part of the University of Hawaiʻi’s continuing fire recovery activities, the following interim procedures have been established in regards to payments:

  • Payments will be processed in the following order:
    1. Stipend, fellowship and scholarship payments
    2. Utility payments (electric, water, and gas)
    3. Payments over 30 days past due including reimbursements
    4. Payments considered RUSH for other reasons (evaluated on a case-by-case basis)
    5. All other payments
  • Since all payment documents submitted and not released for payment by Disbursing were destroyed in the fire, we are requesting photocopies of replacement payment documents.

Stipend, fellowship and scholarship payments have always been processed as the number one priority, as a matter of practice by the UH System. Typically, when mailroom staff sorts through mail, these submissions are selected first and processed as quickly as possible.

The UH fiscal office reports a good portion of these payments were processed and sent out last week (February 20-24), and should start arriving in the next few days. Another large number was completed and sent out on Monday, February 27.

As we said at the beginning, although we did not lose any critical information that cannot be recreated, we did lose paperwork “in progress” that has to be reconstituted from the originating sources and put back in the system. Despite the fact that almost 60 fiscal staff lost essential equipment and had to be temporarily relocated, the staff has continued operations. It will take time to restore full functionality to pre-fire levels.

As we recover, we’re prioritizing and focusing on processing payments as outlined above. We ask for continued patience, and if a student does not receive an expected payment by this Friday, March 2, they should contact their fiscal officer.

Information and updates relating to the university’s fire recovery progress continue to be posted online.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. As of today March 16th, the last payment the Post-Docs in Hilo received was in December last year. That’s a long time for families to survive with no income. Their fiscal officer has not been helpful, other than to point to this fire updates part of the UH website. Will the UH be processing stipend payments electronically in the future to ensure Post-Doc’s receive payment for the valuable work they do for the UH?

  2. Nope, it’s March 16th and I am still not paid. If stipend checks were sent out on Feb 27th then surely they should be here by now. Looks like my March stipend will be delayed too, in addition to the February one. I have not received a pay check since December in 2011. I repeat, I am now enduring *two months* work with no pay. This is utterly ridiculous. Mexican illegal immigrants working on a fruit farm picking apples have more wage security than UH Hilo Post-docs evidently.

  3. Hi guys,

    Sorry you’re having trouble. Just to let you know, we have shared your comments and are trying to get an answer for you. Will let you know as soon as we hear back.

  4. Aloha & sorry for the delayed timing, but we have a response courtesy of UH Financial Management and Controller Paul Kobayashi. Hope this helps!

    After some research we’ve determined the following to be helpful in understanding the delays referenced here:

    First, the UH Disbursing department has made it a recent priority to get all campus and vendor payments processed and checks printed by today(Friday), including post-fire catch-up, before the Spring Break period next week. Included in this week’s check releases were over ten Hilo Pharmacy stipend payments processed. Good news!

    Second, every year around this time the university must go through a process of certifying which recipients of these types of payments (grad student stipends, post-docs and similar cases) are subject to federal withholding taxes which would include non-resident aliens, foreign nationals and individuals who do not provide proper tax identification information.

    The assessment includes determination of travel visa status and authorization type, determination of any tax treaty between the US and the country of origin, actual and anticipated length of stay in the US, proper tax identification forms, etc.  In the past, recipients have been appreciative of this assessment in order to avoid federal tax withholdings and maximize the monthly receipt of fellowship and stipend proceeds but as you can see, it is a complex and time-consuming process.

    This certification process takes a while in normal circumstances, and results in occasional payment delays this time of the year; but the fire exacerbated these normal delays with some of the documentation needing to be recreated and re-processed.

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