Chancellor Hinshaw alerts UH Mānoa of severe proposed budget cuts

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Mar 29, 2010

Aloha! I want to keep you updated on the news regarding the budget. You may have heard earlier that the State House had unfortunately proposed additional cuts of $10 million for UH. Over the weekend, we learned of another bill SB 2695( which proposes additional cuts of almost $59M to UH.

The proposed cuts to the UH budget include: Tuition and Fees Special Fund - $20 million; Research and Training Revolving Fund - $10 million; Revenue Undertakings Fund - $11 million; Cancer Research Center Special Fund - $15 million; Housing Assistance Revolving Fund - $2 million; IT Special Fund - $750K. Mānoa’s share of the $59M reduction would be in addition to the "hit" taken by UH Mānoa this year of $66 million, or 26% of our State general funds.

All of these proposed cuts would impact tremendously on UH as a whole, but certainly most heavily on UH Mānoa. These proposed cuts are all extremely damaging – for example, the State proposes to take fees and tuition funds that students have paid for specific purposes and for which we have provided financial aid including scholarships, federal grants, and loans, to pay the costs for other agencies. Such actions would truly endanger Mānoa’s ability to serve Hawai'i as a research 1 university now and into the future – in essence, this would push Mānoa past the "tipping point".
There is still about a month left of legislative decision-making, so the process is not yet done, but we must be active in educating government and community decision-makers about UH Mānoa. We empathize with the difficult decisions the legislature has to make, but, with this additional budget reduction, they would be making the decision that the State of Hawai‘i cannot support its only research 1 university, UH Mānoa, for our citizens. That is a chilling message for higher education in Hawai'i.
It’s critically important for UH Mānoa students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to let our legislators hear about the value UH Mānoa provides as a major generator of educated citizens, new knowledge, jobs and resources for Hawai'i and also about how damaging these proposed reductions would be. We have already had to take many impacting actions to meet the current financial reductions:
  • We’ve already reduced the number of UH Mānoa faculty, staff and administrators by nearly 6%, or 370 positions. Deeper cuts mean more such losses, resulting in more reductions in services for faculty, staff, students and the community. 
  • With the current cuts, we are already struggling to provide students with the learning experience and services, such as counseling and advising, that they need and deserve. Additional cuts will also require us to further reduce class offerings and enlarge class enrollment. 
  • Our campus has made significant progress in reducing energy usage through Mānoa Green Days and faclities upgrades – our campus has stepped forward in many ways to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
  • Some legislators suggest we can easily accommodate the cuts through higher tuition. We recognize that relying on higher tuition alone to meet budget reductions places a heavier financial burden on Hawai'i students and their families. There are already more requests for financial aid than our resources can fill.
  • Our UH Mānoa libraries, truly a resource for the campus and the community, have reduced their annual budget to purchase new books by more than two-thirds - from $1.1 million to $300,000.
What can we do? We all need to inform our decision-makers about the value UH Mānoa provides and the harmful impact of these budget cuts – and encourage our colleagues across Hawai'i to do the same.
Here are some suggested points of emphasis:
1. UH Mānoa is doing its part in these tough economic times to cuts costs – but the size of these proposed budget cuts will damage our ability to educate people, serve the community and conduct research–all essential activities for creating a stronger future for Hawai'i.
2. We’re enrolling more students with fewer resources. Many students are transitioning from UH Community Colleges to Mānoa - utilizing our strong partnership with Community Colleges through improved articulation and recruitment efforts. Record enrollments in UH Community Colleges means UH Mānoa must also be well prepared to meet those students’ needs. Many more Hawai'i students and families are becoming aware of the top-notch academic opportunities we offer at UH Mānoa and choosing to pursue higher learning here instead of leaving Hawai'i.
3. UH Mānoa is an economic generator. Every dollar invested in UH Mānoa generates $5.34 in spending in Hawai'i, ranging from student expenditures to research purchases—few enterprises offer that type of return. Cutting dollars to Mānoa reduces our "generator" effect.
4. Research at UH Mānoa attracts an average of $1.2 million a day - more than $400 million a year - in research and training grants, most of them from outside Hawai'i. These funds improve our economy, create jobs and produce advancements in a wide range of areas, from health to technology to cultural understanding – such research improves all of our lives.
All of us should be tremendously proud of what UH Mānoa contributes to Hawai'i. Now is the time to share that message with decision-makers ( who are determining our future ability to sustain and build on those contributions.
Mahalo for being part of the Mānoa ʻohana.
Virginia Hinshaw
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa