Hawaii university head proposes tuition freeze, reduction

HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii should freeze undergraduate tuition and lower costs for some graduate students, its president says.

University President David Lassner has submitted a proposal intended to attract more students and keep college fees affordable, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

The proposal would freeze undergraduate tuition at all 10 campuses for three years beginning in the fall of 2020.

The plan would also reduce graduate tuition by 2 percent for residents and 10 percent for non-residents at the University of Hawaii-Manoa in 2020-21 and then freeze those rates until 2023.

The university’s Board of Regents is scheduled to consider the plan at a meeting Thursday at Windward Community College on Oahu.

Undergraduate tuition at the flagship Manoa campus in Honolulu is currently projected to be $11,304 annually for Hawaii residents and $33,336 for nonresidents in the 2019-20 academic year. Graduate tuition is priced at $15,912 for residents and $37,392 for nonresidents.

In addition to greater affordability, administrators hope to make the university more competitive, since enrollment has dropped as tuition has gone up, according to a presentation posted online in preparation for the regents’ meeting.

Tuition at the university’s four-year institutions “has risen above many of its peers, especially for non-residents,” Donald Straney, university of vice president for academic planning and policy, wrote in a memo to the board.

The regents rejected a similar proposal in January that sought to cut graduate tuition and keep undergraduate tuition flat by avoiding planned 1 and 2 percent increases this fall.