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Financial Issues for HPU lead to Recent Layoffs and Scholarship Cuts

    By Contributing Writers. August 7, 2014 - 11:02 am

Silje Lie Solland

According to a recent article in Hawaii Business magazine, Hawai‘i Pacific University’s financial troubles prompted several recent layoffs of staff and faculty members at of the end of the spring semester 2014.  Additionally a significant decrease in HPU’s scholarship budget, has many worried about the future of student enrollment.

Despite the ranking of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine’s “Best Colleges for Return on Investment,” a 51 percent increase in tuition costs from the 2008 -09 to 2013-14 school year is a clear sign to students and staff alike, of the budgetary problems.  

It was not confirmed how many layoffs exactly occurred this past May, but at least 110 faculty and staff have left the university beginning in January 2013. Coinciding with the end of the fiscal year and contract renewals, the layoffs were not something employees had time to plan for. HPU President Geoffrey Bannister said in an interview with Hawaii Business, “letting faculty and staff go with little notice was a necessity. Unfortunately, when you have significant numbers (of people), it is the best way to do it. It doesn’t feel like the kindest way to do it.”

Contributing to the 19 percent decrease in student enrollment that has already occurred, is the decline of participation in HPU’s Military Campus Program. 

It is the hope of President Bannister, HPU’s Board of Trustees and Hawai‘i government officials, that the $40 million renovation project of Aloha Tower Marketplace (set to be completed in 2015) will generate the revenue and interest the school needs to become economically sustainable in the near future.

The Hawaii Business investigation of HPU’s financial difficulties is based on internal documents; audio recordings of meetings of administrators, staff and faculty; interviews with 10 different administrators, faculty, laid-off employees and alumni.

Read the complete article here.

Source: Hawaii Business Magazine. Photo by: Silje Lie Solland.

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