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University of Hawaii regents freeze tuition for undergraduates, reduce it for graduate students

  • BRUCE ASATO / JAN. 27

    Members of the UH Board of Regents voted 13-2 in favor of the proposal at their meeting this afternoon.

The University of Hawaii has approved a plan to freeze undergraduate tuition at all 10 campuses for three years and reduce graduate tuition at UH-Manoa, effective in the fall of 2020.

Members of the UH Board of Regents voted 13-2 in favor of the proposal at their meeting this afternoon, which freezes undergraduate tuition at current rates, while reducing tuition by 2% for resident graduate students and by 10% for non-resident graduate students, at UH Manoa, for the next three academic years.

The plan was presented to the board by UH President David Lassner as a way to maintain affordability for residents as well as to make the university more competitive with its peers, particularly since enrollment has dropped as tuition has gone up.

“Decreases in tuition for UH Manoa graduate students, where rates have risen far above our peers, are proposed to improve our competitiveness and attractiveness,” wrote Donald Straney, vice president of Academic Planning and Policy, in a memo to the board. “By approving the proposed tuition schedule, the administration is hopeful for a positive impact as students can prepare for their education both academically and financially.”

Board members Jeffrey Portnoy and Michael McEnerney voted against the proposal, expressing concerns about whether tuition rates correlated directly with enrollment, or whether other factors played a role.

Portnoy said he would have supported a one-year freeze in tuition, but that he did not know of any businesses, including airlines, hotels, retail stores or private schools that would implement a three-year freeze in uncertain times.

During the debate, the board added the condition that the tuition plan is subject to “annual evaluation and adjustment to prevent significant, negative economic or enrollment impact to the university.”

The approved UH proposal is as follows:

>> Maintains 2019-2020 tuition rates for the next three years for all rate categories except graduate education at UH Manoa.

>> Reduces tuition for resident graduate students at UH Manoa by 2% in academic years 2020-21, which will remain constant for 2021-22 and 2022-23.

>> Reduces tuition by 10% for no-resident, graduate students in the academic year 2020-21, which will remain constant for 2021-22 and 2022-23.

>> At UH Maui College four-year programs, a full-time tuition rate will be established equal to the rate for 12 credits, matching the practice at four-year campuses. Currently, tuition is charged on a per-credit basis.

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