STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2459
RE: S.B. No. 2329
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Higher Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 2329 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO TUITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to decrease University of Hawai‘i tuition by an unspecified percentage and limit future increases in tuition for the University of Hawai‘i based on the change in the State's median household income.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii and one individual. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the University of Hawai‘i System and Hawai‘i Educational Policy Center. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Americans for Democratic Action Hawai‘i and Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
Your Committee finds that overall enrollment in the University of Hawai‘i system has dropped by 3.3 percent from fall 2016 to fall 2017. Correspondingly, tuition has increased steadily since academic year 2011-2012, increasing by 3.1 percent in 2012-2013, 5.5 percent in 2013-2014, 7.6 percent in 2014-2015, 5.1 percent in 2015-2016, and 5.1 percent in 2016-2017, with further increases scheduled in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years. However, despite the decline in enrollment, faculty salaries are scheduled to increase at a rate faster than the growth in tuition. This will decrease the budget amount available for other priorities, such as modernizing buildings, offering scholarships, and student programs and services.
Your Committee further finds that declining enrollment necessarily leads to a decrease in revenue from per-student fees, which are often used to fund student programs and services. This harms the student experience, further depressing enrollment, and is contrary to state policy, which favors an informed and educated populace. This measure promotes increased enrollment at the University of Hawai‘i by capping tuition increases based on the change in the State's median household income, improving the student experience, keeping budgetary pace with increased salaries and other costs, and promoting a more educated populace.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting language that specifies that the amendments made to section 92-28, Hawaii Revised Statutes, shall not be repealed when that section is amended by Act 181, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Higher Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2329, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2329, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Higher Education,
KAIALI'I KAHELE, Chair