Saturday, May 14, 2005

Modified plan raises
tuition at UH by 140%
over 6 years

The final proposal before regents
leaves out any technology fee

A revised proposal to increase undergraduate resident tuition at the University of Hawaii-Manoa by about 140 percent during the next six years will go before the Board of Regents for final approval Thursday.

Under the new proposal, undergraduate tuition at the state's other four-year campuses would increase about 128 percent, and community college tuition would go up about 98 percent, to bring them in line with the projected average costs at similar institutions.

The administration modified the tuition increase after listening to testimony from students at public hearings and at last month's regents meeting.

A proposed technology fee of $10 per credit was dropped for now. But in a memo to the regents, the administration said the fee could still be presented at a later date.

The rate of increase was also spread out over six years rather than five years, as originally proposed, which means students will see a lower tuition increase each year.

But because the goal is to bring Hawaii in line with national averages, the total increase is more than originally proposed, because national averages rise every year.

The university is also proposing to establish a payment plan to allow students and their families to pay tuition in installments rather than in a lump sum at the beginning of the year.

Student leaders are still opposed to tuition increases.

"It's really overwhelming," said Grant Teichman, president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at the Manoa campus.

"Hawaii's notorious for being one of the cheaper universities around, but it doesn't mean we're affordable," he said.

The increase would bring in an extra $120 million a year in the sixth year of the tuition schedule.

Resident undergraduate tuition at UH-Manoa would see the largest increase, about 140 percent, from the current $1,752 per semester for a full-time student to $4,200 per semester in the fall of 2011.

The original proposal would have increased full-time tuition to $3,912 in the fall of 2010. The dropped technology fee would have added an additional $120 to $150 per semester.

Community college tuition would rise from $49 per credit hour to $97 per credit hour.

Linda Johnsrud, the interim associate vice president for planning and policy, said the changes reduce the increase by about 13 to 20 percent.

"Given the revenue situation, that's about as much modification as we can make," she said. "We're hard pressed to take in any less revenues than we're proposing."

But students say the administration has not looked hard enough at alternatives and that it is not clear where the money is going and how it will improve their education.

Under the proposal, resident undergraduate students, who now pay about 17 to 22 percent of the cost of their education, would pay 24 to 44 percent by 2011.

Student leaders said regents can expect to see testimony on Thursday to try to persuade the board to postpone or modify the increase.


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