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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 2020 UH budget request to the Legislature.

The end of the year is usually a time of holidays and preparing for the new year. For the University of Hawaiʻi, it is also usually a time that includes budget preparations and preparing for the upcoming legislative session. On November 21, 2019, the UH Board of Regents (BOR) approved a supplemental operating budget request, which was submitted to the governor and, separately, the Legislature. The budget request is to provide additional state general funds during the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1, 2020. 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 16, 2019.

The UH BOR supplemental budget request totals $28,156,280 in FY21 for various programs across the UH System. The governor’s executive branch proposal includes $24,993,560 for FY21 for UH. For reference, UH currently receives about $526.5 million in state general funds as part of its $1.1 billion operating budget.

The following table shows the operating budget request approved by the BOR and the amounts included in the governor’s budget:
Campus Description Board Governor
FTE $$$ FTE $$$
UH Mānoa UHealthy: Establish MD cohort on Maui 8.00 $1,400,000    
UH Mānoa UHealthy: Medical education and residency support program on Maui     8.00 $1,400,000
UH Mānoa Athletics: Convert positions to General Fund 43.00      
UH Mānoa Mental health: 5 licensed psychologists 5.00 $750,000    
UH Hilo Security: Complete the transition of security force to being completely comprised of civil service employees 8.00 $324,624    
UH Hilo New program: BS in aeronautical sciences program 4.00 $370,000    
UH Hilo Student success: Case manager, retention specialist and financial aid outreach specialist 3.00 $180,000    
UH Hilo Student success: Employ students as learning assistants, peer tutors and peer advisors   $200,000    
UH Hilo Mental health: 1 licensed psychologist 1.00 $150,000    
UH Hilo Educational and cultural programming at Hale Pōhaku or other suitable venue, Maunakea Visitor Information Station and ʻImiloa 8.00 $1,211,120 8.00 $1,211,120
UH West Oʻahu Student success: Admin assistant for Early College transition and funds for student help payroll 1.00 $347,000    
UH West Oʻahu Compliance, food sustainability, IT specialist (distance ed), travel/hospitality assistant professor 4.00 $272,000    
UH West Oʻahu New programs: Creative media and facilities management 4.00 $252,000 4.00 $252,000
UH West Oʻahu 5 security officers, 1 janitor, 1 garden manager, 1 lab manager 8.00 $368,000 3.00 $200,000
UH West Oʻahu Mental Health: 1 licensed psychologist 1.00 $150,000    
UH Community Colleges New Facilities: Kapioʻlani CC Culinary Institute of the Pacific Phase I. 1 custodian, 1 general laborer, utilities and facility maintenance costs 2.00 $465,780 2.00 $465,780
UH Community Colleges New facilities: Leeward CC Waiʻanae Education Center. 1 custodian, 1 security officer, utilities and facility maintenance costs 2.00 $101,096 1.00 $50,000
UH Community Colleges New facilities: Hawaiʻi CC Pālamanui Education Center. 1 custodian, 1 building maintenance worker, 2 security officers, utilities and various maintenance costs. 4.00 $491,620 2.00 $391,620
UH Community Colleges Security: Positions and funds to provide 24/7 coverage at each campus 32.00 $1,223,040 32.00 $1,223,040
UH Community Colleges Student success: Hiring of student tutors and mentors   $500,000    
UH Community Colleges Mental Health: 12 licensed psychologists 12.00 $1,600,000 6.00 $800,000
UH System Hawaiʻi Promise expansion to 4 year institutions   $17,700,000   $19,000,000
UH System Office of Strategic Development and Partnerships—project coordinator 1.00 $100,000    
Total   151.00 $28,156,280 66.00 $24,993,560


I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the items that impact our students directly in the operating budget: the expansion of the Hawaiʻi Promise Program, increased mental health services for UH students and the establishment of a medical school cohort and residency program on the island of Maui.

Hawaiʻi Promise “awesome” for recipients

In 2017, the Legislature appropriated $1,829,000 to the UH Community Colleges to create a scholarship program for qualified students with financial need called the Hawaiʻi Promise program. This program assists approximately 1,400 community college students annually by providing the “last dollar” they need to cover the direct costs of their education. The university seeks to expand the Hawaiʻi Promise Program to qualified students attending our four-year campuses at Mānoa, Hilo and West Oʻahu via a BOR request of $17.7 million. The governor has chosen to increase the amount in his proposed executive branch budget to $19 million for Hawaiʻi Promise.

Student mental health is a growing concern at universities across the country, and UH is no exception. The university desires to increase the range of services offered for mental health, and the BOR approved budget requests totaling $2.65 million for 19 new psychiatrist positions to increase mental health services at all campuses across UH. These additional positions would lower the ratio of students to mental health professionals to the national standard of 1,500 to 1. Included in this request is additional funding for various programs including suicide prevention, mental health stigma reduction and outreach campaigns.

Finally, in recognizing the need for additional physicians in Hawaiʻi, this budget request includes a major university initiative that would help advance improving the pipeline for health professionals in the state. $1.4 million has been requested in the BOR’s budget request to establish a new medical school cohort, including a residency program, on the island of Maui. Experience at the John A. Burns School of Medicine has shown that 80 percent of physicians who attend medical school and perform their residency training in Hawaiʻi remain in the state. However, those experiences are primarily Oʻahu based. By expanding the medical school program to the neighbor islands, it is hoped that this will help to address the physician shortage on those islands.

The capital improvement program budget request was approved in August 2019, and revised in November 2019, by the BOR. The university is requesting $236.8 million for FY21 to address capital renewal, progress on deferred maintenance and funding for projects to modernize each of the campuses within UH. The governor included $86.8 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:
Campus Project Title Board Governor
UH Mānoa Mānoa Mini Master Plan Phase 2 $66,000,000  
UH Mānoa Renew, Improve and Modernize $60,500,000  
UH Mānoa Kuykendall Hall $4,000,000  
UH Mānoa Holmes Hall $1,000,000  
UH Mānoa Central Admin Facility with Parking $4,000,000  
UH Hilo Renew, Improve and Modernize $6,000,000  
UH West Oʻahu Planning Projects $500,000  
UH West Oʻahu Campus Center Phase 2 $35,000,000  
UH Community Colleges Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance $10,500,000 $10,500,000
UH Community Colleges Minor CIP   $15,000,000
UH Community Colleges Honolulu CC Science Building $46,000,000  
UH Community Colleges Windward CC Agripharmatech Bioprocessing Facility $3,000,000  
UH System Renew, Improve and Modernize   $61,000,000
UH System Renovations to enhance culture and education at Hale Pōhaku or other suitable location that does not include a telescope $300,000 $300,000
Total   $236,800,000 $86,800,000


The governor’s executive branch budget request will be deliberated by the Legislature, which convenes on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. This supplemental budget will be for the upcoming fiscal year that runs from 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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