Report Title:

University of Hawaii; tuition waivers; Hawaiian students

Description:

Provides that University of Hawaii students of Hawaiian ancestry be awarded partial to full tuition waivers, subject to admissions requirements and maintenance of satisfactory grade levels. (HB1335 HD3)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1335

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

H.D. 3

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to tuition waivers.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that it is increasingly difficult for students of Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian ancestry to afford college tuition. Furthermore, many Hawaiians are forced to live in low-income housing and to receive aid from the State, the federal government, or both. Like other indigenous peoples who have lost their sovereignty and have become disenfranchised in their homeland, many Hawaiians suffer from depressed socioeconomic conditions, including inadequate housing, poor health, and limited access to health care and education.

Although the University of Hawaii (UH) has celebrated its ninety-second year of existence with a student body that has grown and changed dramatically, one consistent fact is that Hawaiian students continue to be underrepresented within the UH system. While Hawaiians represent twenty-seven per cent of the students in public schools across the State, only fourteen per cent of UH students are Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian. Furthermore, twenty-five per cent of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian students within the UH system drop out within the first two years for reasons that include rising tuition.

In 1991, the UH board of regents adopted a master plan that supported efforts to increase the proportion of Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian students within the university system. The master plan also called upon the university "...to actively support the preservation and teaching of Hawaiian language and culture."

Within its systemwide network, including instructional buildings and campuses, marine research facilities, demonstration farms and agricultural stations, faculty and student housing, the Haleakala Observatory, and the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, the University of Hawaii now controls sixteen thousand acres of lands designated under section 5(f) of the Admission Act to provide support for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians. The dollar value for the use of these lands over the past ninety-two years is so great that it is almost impossible to calculate. However, it is very clear that the indigenous peoples of Hawaii have never received compensation or benefits from UH in return for its use of these ceded lands.

Of a total of four thousand four hundred seventy-eight tuition waivers awarded on the Manoa campus during fiscal year 2000-2001, only one hundred twenty-seven tuition waivers (or 2.8 per cent) were awarded to Hawaiian students under the board of regents-approved systemwide tuition waiver category for Hawaiians in financial need. An estimated one thousand tuition waivers are provided annually to native Hawaiians under all categories of tuition waivers. UH has provided information stating there are one thousand five hundred students of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian ancestry enrolled at the Manoa campus alone. Native Hawaiian students attending UH-Manoa each currently pay more than $3,000 annually, or, collectively, almost $5,000,000 for their higher education.

Consistent with federal regulations for financial assistance to students in need, including Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians, financial assistance through the UH financial aid office is reduced proportionately when a tuition waiver or other financial assistance is awarded through an outside source such as the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, or the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

The legislature believes that it is necessary to offer tuition waivers to qualified students within the UH system who are of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian ancestry and who could not otherwise afford to attend any college within the UH system.

The purpose of this Act is to require UH to award partial to full tuition waivers to all native Hawaiian and Hawaiian students throughout the UH system.

SECTION 2. Chapter 304, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"304- Hawaiians; tuition waivers. (a) The University of Hawaii shall waive fifty per cent of tuition fees for all native Hawaiian and Hawaiian students. It shall further waive an additional fifty per cent to one hundred per cent of the remaining tuition fees for native Hawaiian and Hawaiian students who demonstrate a need for financial assistance.

(b) Tuition waiver eligibility shall be dependent on meeting admissions requirements and on maintaining satisfactory grade levels.

(c) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Native Hawaiian" or "Hawaiian" means any descendant of the aboriginal peoples inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands that exercised sovereignty and lived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2010.