Think About It: Manoa Money Woes - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

October 16, 2014

Think About It: Manoa Money Woes

UH-Manoa is estimating $31-million deficit for its current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2015. This is not to be confused with the now annual report about the $2-3-million shortfall in the campus' athletics department. This will be the fourth straight year of deficit for UH-Manoa and, as expected, cuts have begun in earnest, people are scared, factions are getting defensive, classes are being cut, a committee has been formed, and more studies and discussion will take place among stakeholders.

The adage that "you can't cut your way to prosperity" is certainly true as the UH system cuts grow deeper and deeper. UH has to find a way to increase revenues. With a tuition freeze now in place and fewer students enrolling, this will be a challenge. Tuition revenue will have fallen by some $42-million in the four fiscal years between 2012 and 2015 if current projections play out. The state continues to cut back its support of UH- perhaps in part due to alleged mismanagement as well as the state having its own financial issues funding various entities, including public schools statewide. Nobody wants to see taxes increased, nobody wants to see higher tuitions, and everyone sitting on the sideline speculates that it all must be government bloat and mismanagement.

Perhaps, but increasing revenues and securing more funding from more sources is essential if UH-Manoa wants to provide a quality education at a reasonable price going forward. Dilapidated buildings, upper management reshuffling, larger class sizes due to fewer professors, and interesting classes being eliminated is surely not the ideal way to entice local high schoolers to stay home for college. The worsening fiscal numbers indicate that major changes might be inevitable in how UH runs itself- not simply to survive, but to hopefully thrive, which should be everyone's goal, including the legislature and the general public. It's our state university, and it should run smoothly, just like our state roads and state government. Oh, well. Think about it…


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