Higher UH dorm fees approved
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved a proposal to allow UH-Manoa to increase dorm fees by up to 27.5 percent over the next five years to fix its aging dorms and pay for increased salaries and other costs.
But UH-Manoa officials will have to hold public hearings with students before determining how much to increase housing fees each year.
Grant Teichman, undergraduate student government president, was the only student to show up for the regents meeting yesterday.
If the full 5 percent student housing increase is implemented each year, here is what dorm rents would be for the nine-month academic year for the most common shared dorm room at Anuenue, Gateway, Laulima, Aloha, Lehua, Aloha Mokihana, Aloha Ilima and Aloha Lokelani residence halls:
Teichman asked the regents to hold off on approving the rate increase of up to 5 percent a year, calling it "a little disconcerting and a little alarming."
The increase comes as UH-Manoa raises tuition by more than 140 percent by 2012.
Rates for the most common shared dorm room could rise from $3,742 per year to $4,126 next year if the full 5 percent is granted.
If the full increase is implemented, a student entering UH-Manoa in fall 2011 will pay a total of $13,174 for tuition and to share the most common type of dorm room for the school year. That figure does not include other fees, books and a meal plan -- which currently cost between $940 and $3,425 per year.
Much of the increase will be used to pay back about $90 million in bonds -- $46 million for Frear Hall and $44 million for repair and maintenance on the other dorms. When all the bond money is used, the university's yearly bond payments will rise from about $2.1 million currently to $6.4 million.
Student regent Michael Dahilig voted in favor of giving the UH-Manoa chancellor the authority to raise rates.
"These facilities were built before I was born," Dahilig said after the vote. "The whole housing complex needs to be overhauled."
The fee increase plan also calls for Johnson Hall to be shut down in 2009. But UH-Manoa Vice Chancellor for Students Francisco Hernandez said he wants to see a more detailed financial analysis before deciding whether Johnson Hall will be torn down to make way for another new dorm on campus.
Hernandez said the administration would meet with students either this month or next and decide by the end of February how much to increase rates.
The regents last approved a dorm rate increase in 2002, when they raised housing fees 5 percent a year for three years.