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  • The Governorʻs budget included many of the items in the UH budget request approved by the Board of Regents.
  • The governor included $21.2 million to restore UH funding to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, one of three top legislative priorities for UH this session.
  • The governorʻs budget also included $28.6 million of UHʻs $56.3 million request for its operating budget.
  • Expanding the Hawaiʻi Promise Scholarship Program for students with proven need to UH‘s three universities and workforce development in healthcare, education and construction are UHʻs other two top legislative priorities.

Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares his analysis of the upcoming 2024 Legislative session.

Kalbert Young


Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green submitted the executive branch supplemental operating budget on December 18 to the state legislature for the 2024 session, which opens on January 17. The governor’s budget focuses on the Maui wildfire recovery, of course, in this second year of the state biennial budget process, which is referred to as “supplemental.” As is usual—and, somewhat expected—the executive budget included some, but not all, of the University of Hawaiʻi budget request approved by the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents (BOR) on November 16.

The two major categories in the budget are operating (for ongoing activities) and the capital improvement program (CIP) for large construction projects. For operating, the BOR requested $56.3 million for fiscal year 2025 (FY25), and the Governor’s executive budget proposal included $28.6 million of that request. The Governor did include $21.2 million to restore the state general fund support for UH to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. This is one of UH’s top legislative priorities.

The state reduced funding for all state agencies in 2020 in response to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, from which the state economy has since recovered. The legislature partially restored this funding last year, by funding it only for one year, FY24.

Another top UH priority this session is expanding the highly successful Hawaiʻi Promise Program to UH’s three universities—Mānoa, Hilo and West Oʻahu. Hawaiʻi Promise is a “last dollar” scholarship available to UH community college students with proven financial need that covers expenses not met by their existing financial aid. The UH request for an additional $3.7 million for Hawaiʻi Promise to continue the program at the UH Community Colleges is included in the Governor’s budget request, although an additional $18.3 million request to expand to the four-year institutions is not.

The executive budget includes UH’s request to fund six mental health counselor positions and $510,000 to provide more mental health services across the entire UH 10-campus system.

Meeting the state’s workforce needs is one of the main goals identified in the UH Strategic Plan 2023–2029. On that front, the executive budget includes the UH request for $2.5 million for 16.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to address the healthcare workforce shortage. This would strengthen the pre-nursing program at UH West Oʻahu and the UH Mānoa/UH West Oʻahu pre-nursing pathway, expand healthcare access to rural and underserved populations through the UH Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, and increase capacity for the UH Hilo MA program in counseling psychology.

The UH request for $1.7 million and six FTEs for workforce development in education, construction trades and agriculture is not included in the Governor’s executive budget request.

Also not included is the request for four positions and $1 million for the Office of Equity Assurance to meet the requirements of Act 76, which was passed by the legislature last year. Act 76 expands protection for victims of sexual and domestic violence at UH, and although UH is supportive of the expanded protections, additional resources are needed for implementation.

The following table lists the BOR-approved operating budget requests and the amounts that were included in the governor’s request:

Campus Description
Board of Regents Request Govenor Request
FTE $$$ FTE $$$
UH Mānoa General Fund Restoration—UH Mānoa   $5,600,000   $5,600,000
JABSOM General Fund Restoration—JABSOM   $1,800,000   $1,800,000
UH Hilo General Fund Restoration—UH Hilo   $3,420,000   $3,420,000
UH West Oʻahu General Fund Restoration—UH West Oʻahu   $1,620,000   $1,620,000
UH System General Fund Restoration—UH System   $5,086,848   $5,086,848
UH Mānoa Athletics Subsidy—UH Mānoa   $3,200,000   $3,200,000
UH Hilo Athletics Subsidy—UH Hilo   $400,000   $400,000
UH Community Colleges Culinary Institute of the Pacific-Full Year Funding   $389,245    
UH Community Colleges Value Added Product Center—Full Year Funding   $359,932    
UH Mānoa Expand Teacher Cohort on Neighbor Islands 7.00 $625,000    
UH Mānoa CTAHR Extension Agents 5.00 $506,555 5.00 $506,555
UH System Increased campus safety* 4.00 $1,000,000    
UH Mānoa Hawaiʻi Promise Expansion—UH Mānoa   $12,506,711    
UH Hilo Hawaiʻi Promise Expansion—UH Hilo   $1,773,579    
UH West Oʻahu Hawaiʻi Promise Expansion—UH West Oʻahu   $4,026,116    
UH Community Colleges Hawaiʻi Promise Continuation—UH Community Colleges   $3,700,000   $3,700,000
UH Community Colleges Community-based Planning for Redevelopment of Lahaina 2.00 $500,000    
UH Mānoa Nursing Enrollment and Access thru UH Mānoa-UH West Oʻahu Nursing Collaboration 6.50 $1,068,821 6.50 $1,068,821
JABSOM Neighbor Island Health Access and Pathway Extension 4.00 $925,000 4.00 $925,000
UH Hilo MA Counseling Psychology 3.00 $210,000 3.00 $210,000
UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing Support 3.00 $322,032 3.00 $322,032
UH West Oʻahu Early Childhood Education Support 2.00 $180,910    
UH Hilo BS Educational Studies and Expand Indigenous Teaching 4.00 $285,000    
UH Community Colleges UH Maui—Apprenticeship Training Expansion   $250,000    
UH Community Colleges Leeward CC—Modernize Equipment   $925,000    
UH System Systemwide Mental Health Services 6.00 $510,000 6.00 $510,000
UH Mānoa Community Event Support 6.00 $709,000    
UH West Oʻahu ACM Facilities and Core Services Support 4.00 $252,648    
UH West Oʻahu Campus Safety 1.00 $61,800    
UH Community Colleges UH Maui—Water Quality Lab 2.00 $160,000    
UH Mānoa Stabilize UH Mānoa Athletics Operating Budget 43.00 $3,136,642    
UH Mānoa Cooperative Extension Support 5.00 $581,555    
UH Community Colleges Windward CC—Incarcerated Students Program 3.00 $250,528 3.00 $250,528
Total   110.50 $56,342,922 30.50 $28,619,784

*General funds for this item were not included in the governor’s budget request, but were replaced with the university’s Tuition and Fees Special Fund.

The executive budget includes $66.5 million for UH CIP, far short of UH’s request for $331.5 million for capital renewal, deferred maintenance and campus modernization. The UH budget request included $120 million for repairs and renovations to UH Mānoa student housing facilities. The BOR added that request into the UH budget as the regents were deliberating the budget proposal on November 16. Unfortunately, that funding did not make it into the Governor’s executive budget proposal. The following table lists the projects from the BOR-approved CIP budget and the amounts that were included in the governor’s request:

Campus Description Board of Regents Request Governor Request
UH System/UH Mānoa System, RIM Projects $110,000,000 $20,000,000
UH Mānoa RIM Projects for Student Housing $40,000,000  
UH Mānoa Hale Noelani Renovation $80,000,000  
UH Mānoa PV Rooftop, PV Canopies, and Various Energy Efficiency Projects $30,000,000  
UH Mānoa Waikīkī Aquarium Upgrades $9,000,000 $9,000,000
UH Mānoa Coconut Island Sewer Line Upgrades $3,000,000 $3,000,000
UH Mānoa Holmes Hall $8,000,000 $8,000,000
UH Mānoa Assessment and Feasibility of Hamilton Library $6,500,000  
UH Mānoa Mini Master Plan, Phase 3—Kuykendall Hall $5,000,000 $5,000,000
UH Mānoa Central Administration Facility with Parking $8,000,000  
UH Mānoa Waikīkī Aquarium Seawall Repairs $3,000,000 $3,000,000
UH Mānoa JABSOM Roof Replacement $6,500,000 $6,250,000
UH Hilo RIM Projects $7,300,000 $7,300,000
UH West Oʻahu RIM Projects $5,000,000 $5,000,000
UH West Oʻahu Road B Entry Plaza $5,200,000  
UH West Oʻahu PV Carport $5,000,000  
Total   $331,500,000 $66,550,000


Additional information regarding the operating budget (PDF) and CIP (PDF) requests approved by the BOR may be found at the UH Budget Office’s website.

The governor’s executive branch budget request, along with all the other measures, will be considered by the Legislature during the 2024 legislative session, which convenes on Wednesday, January 17, 2024. This supplemental budget will be for the upcoming fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025.

I will be providing updates on the status of the UH budget requests throughout the legislative session. As 2023 comes to a close and the new year will soon begin, it is also the time to anticipate the next legislative session. Best wishes for a happy and successful 2024!

Mahalo for your time and attention,

Kalbert Young
UH Vice President for Budget and Finance/Chief Financial Officer

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