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The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents approved a tuition increase for the ten campus system over a three-year period that starts with a zero percent increase in the first year. The tuition increase is for the 2017–18 through the 2019–20 academic years, and the increases range from one to two percent in years two and three.

The university initially proposed a two percent increase in the first year for the UH Mānoa campus but amended the proposal at the July 21, 2016 board meeting where the increase was approved.

“I reviewed all the testimony this week and the testimony from this morning and I am struck by the request that we dig more deeply from within,” said President David Lassner, when he proposed the change. The regents accepted the proposal and asked for the administration to report back within a year. (Read the president’s address to the board.)

“We are requiring the administration to report its progress on alternative financing of repairs for Mānoa. We also want to see an enrollment management plan to address recruitment and retention with target numbers and a Mānoa campus management master plan that is based on a study of current space utilization incorporating findings of an integrated, high level academic strategic plan,” said Regent Chair Jan Sullivan.

UH leadership stressed that the money raised through the increase will only be used for projects that modernize student spaces, classrooms and laboratories.

“The priority is to follow the UH strategic directions to build a 21st century university that provides the absolute best and most modern environment for our students—an environment designed for interdisciplinary collaboration that supports modern teaching, learning, innovation and scholarship,” said UH Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy Risa Dickson.

Tuition increases by campus
Campus Year 1 (2017–18) Year 2 (2018–19) Year 3 (2019–20)
UH Mānoa 0 % 2 % 2 %
UH Hilo 0 % 1 % 1 %
UH West Oʻahu 0 % 1 % 1 %
UH Community Colleges (lower division) 0 % 2 % 2 %
UH Community Colleges (upper division) 0 % 1 % 1 %

Non-resident rates should be increased at the same dollar value.

For more information, go to the tuition schedule website.

President Lassner’s address to the board

I believe the tuition-setting process we followed was completely open, consultative and consistent with our practices over the past decades. I also believe the plan as submitted was sound and protects student access, including an increased commitment to financial aid. That said, I have reviewed the testimony submitted on the proposal over the past week and I have also received substantial direct input from others.

It is clear that the condition of the Mānoa campus is a problem that has been created over decades during which UH has requested support from the Legislature and has not received what the campus needs. But at this point, a major problem that was created over decades can’t be fixed either quickly or with a single silver bullet. We must continue to advocate for public support for our public infrastructure from the Legislature, and I invite our passionate students to support us in these requests.

A number of the testimonies requested that we dig more deeply from within as part of a multi-faceted solution to the challenge of repairing and modernizing our flagship campus. This was always our intent. And while our multi-faceted solution must include tuition investment and public investment—the traditional backbones of financing public higher education—we must also employ at Mānoa innovative public-private approaches that have already been successfully employed at other UH campuses. And we must identify opportunities for savings through internal prioritization and organizational efficiencies.

I have reflected on the testimonies and on what regents have said both during my time as president and before. There is clearly concern that our campus resources—dollars, positions and space—are not being managed as strategically as they could be to meet the comprehensive needs of our state—complex needs that are primary responsibilities of Hawaiʻi’s only research university. So while I absolutely believe that tuition investments and legislative support must play a part in addressing the challenge of repairing and modernizing the campus, I think it’s also fair to expect us to demonstrate what we can do through other means.

Therefore I am willing to propose a small friendly amendment to what was submitted for approval. That amendment would be to eliminate the tuition increase at UH Mānoa in year 1 only, which would be consistent with the other nine campuses, and to come back in a year to show progress on the resource management questions that I believe have been pointedly raised over this past week and in the past.

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