Students will learn about the campaign process through a free student leadership development program that will be held this Saturday.
ASUH is supporting the event titled, “Elect Her,” which will explain the campaign process and teach students how to develop an effective message, how to reach out constituencies and how to win a student government campaign.
“Students will gain invaluable leadership skills and experience,” Kelly Zakimi, chairwoman for the ASUH committee on external affairs said. “The workshop will empower students to empower others, specifically their peers.”
The event will feature panels comprised of leaders such as U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (via Skype or Facetime), Hawai‘i State Senator Jill Tokuda, 97th ASUH President and current Hawai‘i State Representative Kaniela Ing, 99th ASUH President Anna Koethe and current ASUH Vice President Francesca Koethe.
“Like the ‘Elect Her’ flyer outlines, students will be able to network, demystify the campaign process, develop and communicate an effective message, reach out to their constituency, and take the first steps in serving their peers,” Zakimi said. “These are skills that can be useful and applicable to anyone, both male and female.”
According to ASUH’s website, the event is funded by a $5,000 grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which a national organization that seeks to empower women to run for student government and later, to run for a position in their local or federal government.
“A program manager from AAUW will be flying into Hawai’i and she will lead multiple exercises and sessions, which include information about campaign strategy, condensing a speech about your strengths and goals as a candidate (called an ‘elevator speech’), and the importance of young women running for office,” Zakimi said.
The event is co-sponsored by the AAUW and UH Mānoa Office of Student Life and Development.
According to Zakimi, the event is broken up into half-hour increments, with each increment focusing on a certain aspect of empowerment.
The event is free and open to all UH students. It will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 1 in the Campus Center Executive Dining Room. Lunch will be provided.
Kelsie Sasabe turned in her application for the Presidential Scholarship without any problems.
It wasn’t until one of her friends turned in his application that she found out she was no longer eligible for what she called the most prestigious scholarship available at the University of Hawai‘i.
Effective next academic year, only students transferring from UH community colleges to four-year campuses within the system are eligible for the Presidential Scholarships.
The university has also made changes to the Regents Scholarships, which will be divided among the four-year campuses with 16 being allocated for UH Mānoa, two for UH Hilo and two for UH West O‘ahu, effective next academic year.
Each of the four-year campuses controls the recruitment, selection and notification of applicants, according to Jan Javinar, interim associate vice president for student affairs.
Presidential Scholarships are awarded to 10 college juniors who “have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7 for all college level work, a record of sustained progress in academic courses and evidence of superior academic achievement or creative endeavor,” according to the UH system website.
Presidential Scholars receive a full tuition waiver for two years of undergraduate study along with $4,000 a year and a one-time $2,000 travel grant.
“To encourage the educational pipeline and supporting incoming juniors to the four-year baccalaureate campuses, it was agreed to refocus the Presidential Scholarships with preference given to those transferring as juniors from our community colleges,” Javinar said.
This year, sophomores who will be juniors next year at the four-year campuses are still eligible for the scholarship.
“Because of the transition year to this refocusing, it was left to campuses to allow for including sophomores currently at the four-year campus becoming juniors,” Javinar said.
According to Javinar, allowing for the transition period was also due to the different information listed on various university websites.
“To ensure fairness, it was suggested that a transition period be used,” Javinar said. “This will be left to the four-year campuses on how they operationalize a transition period.”
Eight scholarships will go to Mānoa, one will go to West O‘ahu and one will go to Hilo.
The Regents Scholarships are awarded to 20 outstanding freshmen who “receive an SAT combined score of at least 1950 on all three sections of the test or ACT combined score of at least 29, maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in academic subjects in high school, and whose extracurricular achievements are shown to be remarkable,” according to the UH system website.
Regents Scholars receive a full tuition waiver for four years of undergraduate study along with $4,000 a year and a one-time $2,000 travel grant.
“The reason for that is actually because before the Regents Scholarship is in a system level, so anybody could apply for it and then you could choose where to go,” Jen Rasay, vice president for the Regents and Presidential Scholars Club, said.
According to Rasay, a bulk of Regents scholars opted to go to UH Mānoa, who would waive all the tuitions.
“But what happens is, although it’s a system scholarship, the campus that the student goes to is the one that pays the tuition waivers,” Rasay said. “So because Mānoa gets a lot of those, has been getting a lot of those Regents scholars choosing to come here, so they’ve been shouldering all of the tuition.”
Javinar said this was not a consideration in deciding to devolve the program from the system to the four-year campuses.
An opportunity given, an opportunity gone
Rasay thinks it’s good that the university is spreading the opportunity to apply for the scholarship, but at the same time, she thinks it takes away opportunities, such as for those applying for the Presidential Scholarship.
“It’s good that we’re spreading all of the opportunity to all the people, but at the same time, the cost is that you’re taking away that opportunity from others as well,” Rasay said.
Sasabe, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering at Mānoa, applied for the Presidential Scholarship this year. She thinks the changes are disappointing as students work hard in hopes to possibly earn the scholarship.
“When I found out that we weren’t eligible I felt like we were being punished for attending here in the first place,” Sasabe said. “Why aren’t we going to be able to get the chance or the opportunity to even apply or try out for the most prestigious scholarship that there is just because the fact that we chose to go to Mānoa before we were juniors? So it’s like we’re paying tuition, and we don’t even have the opportunity to get this scholarship and get recognized for working hard.”
Sasabe wrote a letter to the editor printed in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in January, explaining the university’s changes to the two scholarships.
“I was just kind of disappointed because it was the most prestigious scholarship we could get and then now we’re no longer able to get it,” Sasabe said.
The Presidential and Regents Scholarships
According to John Morton, UH vice president for community colleges, the two scholarships were established in part from lease rent that Magnum PI paid for the use of Kapi’olani Community College facilities and land.
“Initially the lease rent paid for some buildings on the then-new Kapi’olani campus,” Morton said. “Subsequent to that, the money was used to endow the scholarships.”
Initially, the Regents Scholarships targeted high-school students in an effort to attract some of Hawai‘i’s best performing seniors to Mānoa and Hilo. West O‘ahu was not yet accepting freshmen.
Morton said the Presidential Scholarships were to attract high performing community college students as they transferred to one of the three baccalaureate institutions. He said it sounds like the scholarship is going back to it original intents and purposes.
“Somewhere along the way the eligibility was changed to allow any student who was making the transition from sophomore to junior to become a Presidential scholar, including students already enrolled at one of the baccalaureate institutions,” Morton said. “This has been the case for several years now.”
The university may lose direct management over how its tuition and fees are expended, as a new measure would repeal the university’s tuition and fees special fund.
“Should the tuition and fee special fund be repealed, the tuition revenues will be deposited into the state general fund, and the university would lose direct management over how these funds are budgeted and expended,” Director of University Budget Laurel Johnston said.
This would force UH to compete with all other state-funded entities for about 70 percent of its operating funds, according to Johnston. Currently, UH only competes for about 35 percent of its funds.
House Bill 1492 and Senate Bill 2551 state that “all income from tuition and fees charged for regular courses of instruction and tuition-related course and fee charges against students shall be deposited to the credit of the general fund.”
“What that means is all tuition and fees now go to the general fund to be appropriated back to the university,” Rep. Isaac Choy said. Choy introduced the House version of the bill last month.
The bill will also transfer all unrestricted money remaining on balance in the university’s tuition and fees special fund at the close of June 30, 2014, to the general fund. According to Johnston, the University Controller would work with the state’s Controller to determine this amount if the bill passes.
“Tuition revenues are received by each campus and deposited by each campus into their respective campus’ tuition and fees special fund, which is kept separate from their annual general fund appropriation,” Johnston said. “Thus, the campuses manage how their tuition revenues are budgeted and expended.”
If the university no longer directly manages these revenues, it would lose the ability to manage tuition revenues like awarding scholarships from tuition. According to Johnston, general funds cannot be reallocated by UH in the same manner as tuition funds can be.
“The intent isn’t to take away any money that the university is currently spending through the special fund,” Sen. Brian Taniguchi said. “But it’s kind of putting back to more legislature oversight of what the entire thing of what they’re spending.”
Johnston said the university receives two types of support from the state. The legislature appropriates general funds to support operating expenses and for specific capital improvement projects by project type.
The state general fund is the state fund into which all unrestricted state revenues are deposited and managed by the state Department of Budget and Finance, according to Johnston. Currently, the state’s general fund budget for all state departments is $6.036 billion. UH receives $366 million, or 6.4 percent, of the total general budget. UH makes a request for these general funds every year.
The university’s annual operating budget is $1.5 billion.
“Thus, the university does not presently receive sufficient general funds to pay for all of the university’s operating expenses,” Johnston said.
A SOURCE OF REVENUE
According to Taniguchi, who introduced the Senate version of the bill, the legislature set up the tuition and fees special fund in the mid-’90s.
“The theory of it was that the legislature would, you know, promise to appropriate a base amount and then if the university needed more money than the legislature appropriated then they would have to raise tuitions to spend that money,” Taniguchi said.
According to testimony by Jim Shon, director of the Hawai‘i Educational Policy Center, at the Senate Committee on Higher Education meeting on Feb. 4, the burden of funding higher education has shifted from the entire state to the students.
According to a 2013 report by The College Board titled, “Trends in College Pricing,” Hawai‘i has higher five-year average increases than the national average. For resident tuition in four-year institutions, Hawai‘i’s averaged five-year increase is 47 percent while the national average was 27 percent.
In 2011, the Board of Regents implemented a five-year schedule of tuition increases. The board requires that a certain percent be given back in tuition scholarships, with increasing amounts being given back as tuition increases.
“For fiscal year 2013, the net tuition revenues collected was $273 million, with $41 million in tuition scholarships being returned to eligible students,” Johnston said.
Shon suggests amending the bill to set a policy cap on the percentage of specific campus or college costs that tuition may cover.
“Anything over that amount can go to the general fund, but this cap or cut off could be set significantly lower than the current mix, perhaps 30 percent, with the rest coming from general funds,” Shon said.
MANAGEMENT OF FUNDS
Howard Todo, chief financial officer and vice president of Budget and Finance at UH, testified at the House Committee on Higher Education meeting on Jan. 30, saying the board and UH leadership oppose it. According to his testimony, the board believes it is the appropriate body to establish tuition rates and establish revenue management policy.
Graduate Student Organization President Thomas Robinson said the bill undermines the reason to have a BOR and autonomous university system.
“The other thing that bothers me about this bill is that our tuition is not a tax. Tuition is meant to pay for our higher education, not to be a political talking point. The university money is meant for the university, not for the state to determine what to do with it,” Robinson said.
He thinks an audit of the university would be a good thing for the state to do to provide some oversight.
Some senators from ASUH also submitted testimony in opposition to the bill.
“The students of UH Mānoa paid 100 percent of our tuition to go to UH Mānoa, and we should expect no less than 100 percent of every dollar we paid to be going towards our education at UH Mānoa,” Martin Nguyen, senator of the Shidler College of Business, said in his testimony against the Senate bill.
According to Taniguchi, the legislature is not trying to take away money from any of the campuses.
According to testimony for the House bill by Kalbert Young, director of the state Department of Budget and Finance, the department doesn’t take any position on the policy issue of appropriate funding sources for UH.
“However, we would plainly advise that such an approach would effectively end whatever self-funding or self-dependent revenue strategy that is currently employed by UH,” Young said.
The Task Force on Veterans Affairs will continue to review its list of potential recommendations on how the university can improve its services to student veterans, along with a piece of legislation that will direct UH to create veteran resource centers on each of its campuses.
“We anticipate that one of the recommendations we’re likely to make is that there needs to be some sort of a governing or a guiding body similar to the task force that continues to exist on a longer-term basis,” said Christopher Manaseri, Ph.D., Dean of Student Services at Leeward Community College and task force chairman. “So one of our recommendations is likely to be that a group like the task force continue to help coordinate the university’s work in support veteran students.”
The 15-member task force was formed on Nov. 22 after UH Interim President David Lassner had an open call for nominations.
A LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Manaseri said the task force’s list of recommendations varies from issues concerning a dedicated support staff on each of the campuses that is specifically trained to work with veteran students, to the university’s policies and practices.
“We would like to explore making sure that veterans are able to receive credit where possible for training and learning that may have occurred while they were in the military,” Manaseri said.
One of the major issues the task force needs to deal with, according to Manaseri, is some uniformity of approach to the Yellow Ribbon program, which is a way of helping veterans to receive support toward in-state tuition regardless of their residency.
“We’re not sure that that’s something that we would end up supporting, but we do know that there’s a problem because students who might start at one of our community colleges where they’re eligible for Yellow Ribbon and then transfer to Mānoa, for example, are no longer eligible for Yellow Ribbon and so their tuition costs can triple or quadruple in the process,” Manaseri said.
The task force would also like to explore the possibility of creating some form of a veterans resource center, either physical or virtual, that would be available to every UH student regardless of how many students are actually on their campus.
“So we know we’d like to look at potentially some sort of gateway or a portal that would be supported. So a veteran student on Kaua‘i could have access to many if not all of the same supports that a veteran student at Mānoa or at Leeward might have,” Manaseri said.
LEGISLATION FOR VETERAN RESOURCE CENTERS
The task force will also be reviewing “The DOVE Program: Developing Opportunities for Veterans’ Education,” which directs UH to create veteran resource centers on each of its campuses, according to James Cavin, Military/Veteran Legislative Liaison for Sen. Will Espero’s office and executive director of the Hawai‘i Alliance of Student Veterans.
“We know we want to consider the benefits of that bill and whether or not it meets some of the recommendations that we might have,” Manaseri said.
Right now, only the Maui, Mānoa and Leeward campuses have these centers, according to April Brown-Kimbrell, program manager for Office of Veterans Support Services at Mānoa, which was formed in September to help veterans graduate.
Brown said the military culture and the campus culture are different.
“They’re two different cultures, the military culture and the campus environment,” Brown said. “But it’s a transition that is unique because of the military culture. It’s not a high-school student coming from high school to the campus.”
A TASK FORCE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
Student veterans make up about 4 percent of the student population at UH, according to Jan Javinar, Interim Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.
The task force is charged with looking at what UH is doing in regards to student veterans, what it could do better, what it is not doing that it should be doing and what that would cost, according to Javinar.
“So the main reason is the influx of vets coming to campus and the campuses wanting to be sure that the system, that we’re serving the needs of student veterans in the most effective, responsive way,” Javinar said.
Cavin, who is also a member of the task force, thinks the task force is a step in the right direction.
“UH has been for many years trying to get programs on the ground within the university that will better benefit the student veterans, but unfortunately the culture of UH has sadly been very non-veteran helpful,” Cavin said.