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Future budgeting resources to track enrollment

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Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The funding future for the University of Hawaii at Hilo is looking much brighter as a result of action taken during the 2008 legislative session. While House and Senate lawmakers funded numerous health and safety needs deemed critical to the welfare of students, the milestone achievement was passage of legislation that will lead to development of a performance based funding formula for all UH campuses.

The University’s operating funding is presently determined each fiscal biennium based on specific program and personnel requests. Additionally, supplemental budget requests are prepared for the second year of each fiscal biennium to address unforeseen issues and funding deficiencies that have arisen after the biennial budget has been approved and funds allocated.

House Bill 2978 establishes a task force, which will assist the University System in developing a budgetary system that provides an equitable, consistent and responsive formula for the distribution of fiscal resources to the various campuses in the unit system based on the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students.

“This is a welcome development that will benefit the entire University system,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng. “Linking budgetary allocations to enrollment gives all of us an incentive to continue growing, by providing assurances that growth will be supported financially.”

The six-member task force will be composed of the chancellors of the three university campuses or their designees, the vice president or interim vice president of community colleges or their designee, and one member each appointed by the president of the State Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, who will work with an independent financial consultant hired by the University.

Members will provide the consultant with various data to develop the funding formula, including historical enrollment growth, future enrollment projections, estimated costs of educating different categories of students, as well as performance incentives and goals for each of the various campuses. The information will form the basis of an annual incentive and performance report and plan that will guide the Legislature in appropriating up to two percent of the System’s annual budget to facilitate the University’s strategic plan and related State goals.

“Having a funding formula is a good step to ensure that funding allocation is fair throughout the entire University System,” said Jerry Chang, chair of the Higher Education Committee. “This bill will provide positive assurance that this long overdue principle is put into place.”

The panel’s findings will be turned over to the University president for review, and upon approval, submitted to the Legislature no later than 20 day prior to the start of the regular 2009 session.

“By any measure, this was a highly successful session,” said University Relations Director Gerald De Mello. “Through this legislation, future funding will more accurately reflect the cost of educating our growing enrollment as we do our part to help the State meet its goals and priorities.”

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