HONOLULU (AP) - University of Hawaii students are bracing for another tuition hike as state lawmakers struggle to close a major budget shortfall.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that university officials are considering raising tuition in fall 2012, but students won't know how much they will be paying for nearly another year.
The 10-campus UH system won't know how much state funding it will receive until later this year when state lawmakers agree on a plan to close a two-year, $1.3 billion budget deficit.
UH President M.R.C. Greenwood says university administrators will likely make a tuition proposal to the Board of Regents in early fall. If the board approves, the new costs would not be finalized until January.
That means UH students won't have much time to budget for their biggest college expense.
"It's definitely a major issue," said Andrew Itsuno, UH-Manoa's student body president. "Students are applying for a lot of scholarships. But if tuition does increase, scholarships won't increase with tuition."
In-state undergraduates who attend UH-Manoa full time currently pay $3,792 per semester in tuition, which will rise to $4,200 per semester in spring 2012. That doesn't include $314 per semester in mandatory student fees.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who earned his master's degree in sociology and a doctorate in American studies at UH, is among those who oppose increasing tuition.
"When it comes to financing the UH, raising tuition should be the last option on the table," Abercrombie said. "In a time of recession, we must maximize the opportunity for people to pursue higher education. To raise tuition now would go against that."
In response, Greenwood said, "While I agree with the governor's sentiments that public education is a public good and the public should support it, whether or not that is a realistic scenario given the current situation is a different question."