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Hawaii state capitol

Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares his analysis of the 2022 UH budget request to the Legislature.

Operating Budget

Kalbert Young

On Thursday, November 18, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents (BOR) approved a supplemental operating budget request that was submitted to the governor and, separately, the Legislature. The fiscal and economic recovery for the state is underway but some questions remain as to the near-term extent and longer-term sustainability. While the overall state general fund revenues look strong for this fiscal year, the state is expected to prioritize certain areas that were cut in the past few years as priority for what needs to be addressed beginning in the next fiscal year.

The American Rescue Plan Act included a “Maintenance of Effort” provision regarding the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund monies that went to our public K–12 schools. It requires state support for elementary, secondary and postsecondary education in FY22 and FY23 to be at levels proportional to overall state budgeting and spending as averaged during FY17, FY18 and FY19. In other words, the state government’s budget cannot disproportionately reduce funding to education in order to fund the rest of the budget. For FY22, overall state spending was considerably reduced and UH was reduced proportionately. For FY23, it is expected that state general fund appropriations will grow and therefore state appropriations for the Department of Education and UH should grow in proportion to overall state spending.

The UH budget request primarily seeks to request restoration of the general fund cuts to all campuses that were effectuated in the FY22 budget—those cuts total $42.5 million. UH is also asking for restoration of the $4 million in previous general fund subsidy for athletics. There are only two other operational funding requests: funding for the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems in the amount of $550,000, which was a program transferred from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to UH in FY22. The UH request also includes adding five positions to the UH West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media in the amount of $282,000.

As part of the executive branch’s budget proposal submitted to the Legislature on December 20, 2021, the governor included everything UH requested along with additional initiatives that align with the governor’s broader platform.

One such initiative is to provide $1.7 million for additional nursing clinical instructors. These instructors will help to expand the nursing education programs offered throughout the state by UH in order to help address the ongoing nursing shortage in Hawaiʻi. $2 million was added to the budget for the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in order to expand the residency program to the neighbor islands. To help address the teacher workforce shortage, $557,000 was added for the College of Education to increase the number of lecturers in teacher preparation. $1.575 million was added to help address workforce shortages in the Information Technology and Cybersecurity industries. $380,000 was added to UH Mānoa’s budget for equipment and facilities upgrades to help handle the expansion of the Creative Media program at UH Mānoa. To kickstart the aviation program at UH Hilo, $190,000 was added to its budget to hire two faculty. Finally, $21.7 million was added for repairs, maintenance and equipment for UH facilities.

Description BOR FY23 Gov FY23
General Fund Restoration – UH Mānoa $30,000,000 $30,000,000
General Fund Restoration – JABSOM $1,200,000 $1,200,000
General Fund Restoration – UH Hilo $2,280,000 $2,280,000
General Fund Restoration – UH West Oʻahu $1,080,000 $1,080,000
General Fund Restoration – UH Community Colleges $4,600,000 $4,600,000
General Fund Restoration – UH System Support $3,391,232 $3,391,232
Athletics – UH Mānoa $3,600,000 $3,600,000
Athletics – UH Hilo $400,000 $400,000
PISCES – Hilo $550,000 $550,000
Creative Media – UH West Oʻahu $282,000 $282,000
Nursing Clinical Instructors – UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH Community Colleges   $1,756,489
Residency Program Expansion – JABSOM   $2,040,000
Teacher Workforce Education – UH Mānoa   $557,097
IT and Cybersecurity Workforce – UH System Support   $1,575,000
Creative Media – UH Mānoa   $380,000
Aviation Program – UH Hilo   $190,000
Repairs, Maintenance and Equipment – UH System Support   $21,700,000
Total $47,383,232 $75,581,818

Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget

The CIP budget request was also approved at the November 18 BOR meeting. For the upcoming session, the CIP budget request is rather modest. The bulk of the CIP plan is intended to allow UH to continue to address health and safety measures, increase efficiency and utilization of existing spaces and support current and funded research activities.

UH is requesting $89 million for FY23 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 $86.5 million in FY23 in his budget request. The following table lists the projects from the BOR-approved budget and the amounts that were included in the governor’s request:

Campus Description BOR FY23 Gov FY23
UH Mānoa Hamilton Library $6,000,000  
UH Mānoa Central Admin Facility with Parking $4,000,000  
Leeward CC Fascias $6,500,000 $6,500,000
Waikīkī Aquarium Discharge System Upgrade $11,500,000 $11,500,000
Systemwide Renew, Improve and Modernize (RIM) $33,500,000 $32,000,000
UH West Oʻahu Renew, Improve and Modernize (RIM) $2,500,000 $2,500,000
UH Community Colleges Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance $25,000,000 $24,000,000
UH West Oʻahu via UH System UH West Oʻahu Campus Expansion and University Village   $10,000,000
  Total $89,000,000 $86,500,000


The governor’s executive branch budget request, along with all the other measures will be deliberated by the 2022 Legislature, which convenes on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. This supplemental budget will be for the upcoming fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

As in previous years, my hope will be to provide readers with updates throughout the legislative session to show the progression of the budget for UH as it moves through the process.

Let’s see what 2022 has to offer.

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