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Hawaii state capitol

Kalbert Young

Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares his analysis of the 2019 UH budget request to the Legislature.

On November 15, 2018, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents approved a biennium operating budget request which was submitted to the governor and the Legislature. The budget request is to provide additional state general funds during the next upcoming fiscal biennium (that starts July 1, 2019). The governor has considered the university’s request and has included portions as part of the executive branch’s budget proposal to the Legislature. The executive budget proposal was transmitted to the Legislature on December 15.

The UH Board of Regents biennium budget request seeks $26,716,176 in additional general funds next fiscal year (FY20) and $27,246,419 in FY21 for various programs across the system. The governor’s executive branch proposal included $22,917,144 for FY20 and $22,886,111 for FY21 of UH’s original request. For reference, the University of Hawaiʻi currently receives about $481.5 million in direct state general funds as part of its $1.17 billion operating budget.

The following table shows the operating budget request approved by the Board of Regents (BOR) and the amounts included in the governor’s budget:

UH operating budget request approved by the Board of Regents
Description BOR FY20 BOR FY21 Gov FY20 Gov FY21
Hawaiʻi Promise Program $19,700,000 $19,700,000 $19,700,000 $19,700,000
Raise Graduate Assistant Stipend (Mānoa) $2,198,360 $2,242,327 $2,198,360 $2,242,327
Student Mentors and Tutors (CCs) $1,004,400 $1,004,400 $500,000 $500,000
Custodial and Maintenance (Hilo) $228,576 $228,576 $143,784 $143,784
Wayfinding Education Program (Hilo) $375,000 $300,000 $375,000 $300,000
Learning Assistants and Peer Mentoring (Mānoa) $956,600 $1,408,876    
Student Employment (Hilo) $122,000 $231,000    
Student Employment (West Oʻahu) $300,000 $300,000    
Security Staff (Hilo) $311,240 $311,240    
HINET for SNAP Recipients (CCs) $520,000 $520,000    
Distance Education (West Oʻahu) $1,000,000 $1,000,000    
Total $26,716,176 $27,246,419 $22,917,144 $22,886,111


I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of items that impact our students directly in the operating budget: $19.7 million for the expansion of the Hawaiʻi Promise Program and $4.5 million for student employment.

Two years ago, the Legislature appropriated $1,829,000 to the community colleges to create a new scholarship program for qualified students with financial need called Hawaiʻi Promise. Last year, Act 14, SLH 2018, further provided $700,000 for fiscal year 2018–2019. Since the program’s inception, the UH Community Colleges were able to assist 1,500 students through this program, for which we are very thankful for the Legislature’s support. Our $19.7 million request starts the next evolution of the Hawaiʻi Promise Program by expanding it to qualified students attending our four-year campuses at Mānoa, Hilo and West Oʻahu ($19 million). We also are requesting the continued funding of Hawaiʻi Promise at the Community Colleges ($700,000), which was provided last year.

Included in the governor’s proposed budget is another significant area of funding related to students. The university is requesting additional funding support for graduate assistants, student mentors, tutors and continuation of the Wayfinding Program. Coupled with Hawaiʻi Promise, you will notice that the university’s budget ask is primarily centered around financial assistance for students.

The capital biennium budget, which was approved in August 2018, requests $295 million for FY20 and $319.5 million in FY21 to address capital renewal, progress on deferred maintenance and funding for projects to modernize each of the campuses within the UH System. The governor included $150 million in FY20 and $150 million in FY21 in his budget request. The following table lists the projects from the board-approved budget and the amounts that were included in the governor’s request:

Projects from the board-approved budget
Description BOR FY20 BOR FY21 Gov FY20 Gov FY21
Renew, Improve and Modernize (Systemwide) $157,000,000 $133,000,000 $56,500,000 $71,500,000
Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance (CCs) $25,000,000 $25,000,000   $14,500,000
Science Building (Honolulu CC) $43,500,000   $43,500,000  
Pharmacy Lab Improvements (Hilo) $3,000,000   $3,000,000  
Renovate Sinclair Library to become Student Success Center (Mānoa) $41,000,000   $41,000,000  
Snyder Hall Replacement (Mānoa)   $55,000,000   $55,000,000
Renew, Improve and Modernize (West Oʻahu)     $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Renew, Improve and Modernize (Hilo)     $5,000,000 $8,000,000
Minor CIP (CCs) $10,000,000 $10,000,000    
Kuykendall Hall (Mānoa) $2,000,000      
Development and Infrastructure (West Oʻahu) $7,000,000 $8,000,000    
General Education Building I (West Oʻahu) $1,000,000      
Planning Projects (West Oʻahu) $500,000 $500,000    
Manono Campus Development (Hawaiʻi CC) $2,000,000 $50,000,000    
Holmes Hall (Mānoa) $2,000,000 $35,000,000    
Keller Hall/Physical Science (Mānoa) $1,000,000      
Agripharmatech Bioprocessing Facility (Windward CC)   $3,000,000    
Total $295,000,000 $319,500,000 $150,000,000 $150,000,000


The governor considers requests from all state departments as part of the executive branch proposed budget submittal for the upcoming biennium to the Legislature which convenes on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. The biennium budget will be for the fiscal year July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 and for the fiscal year July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

As in years past, I hope to provide readers updates throughout the legislative session to show the progression of the budget for our university as it moves through the process.

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