The University of Hawaii wants $15 million more from the Legislature than is in the plan for next year, in part for exceeding most of its performance goals.

The Legislature last year budgeted $997.2 million for the university system next year. One-third of the additional $15 million would go to specific programs that Gov. Neil Abercrombie also supported in his executive budget request. The university hopes to get the other $10 million as a reward for going beyond expectations for increasing graduation rates, degrees granted, Pell Grants given and attendance from Hawaii schools, among other things.

The governor’s request does not include the $10 million in performance-based funding.

“The governor has been very generous with his executive request, but we think that performance-based funding is really important,” UH President M.R.C. Greenwood told Civil Beat after a budget briefing before the Senate Ways and Means committee on Tuesday. “By and large, even in a very difficult recession, we have shown that we’ve tried to use the resources we have in an appropriate manner. And we have exceeded our goals in all but two areas.”

The budget briefing is only the first in a series of discussions and testimony between now and May that will help lawmakers determine how much additional funding to give to the university this year. Many of the key issues surrounding funding requests will emerge at the early briefings.

Greenwood distributed a small pamphlet to senators showing how UH blew past its goals in the following areas:

  • Degree attainment of Native Hawaiians. UH’s goal was to grant 1,058 degrees to Native Hawaiians, and it granted 1,609.
  • Increasing UH degrees and certificates of achievement earned. The goal was 8,644 and the actual number was 8,988.
  • Increase UH disbursement of Pell Grants. The goal was 9,627 and the actual number was 17,262.
  • Increase rates of public and private high school graduates to UH campuses. The goal for 2011 was 37.8 percent, and the reality was 38.4 percent.
  • Increase UH extramural fund support (e.g. research grants). Goal: $393 million. Actual: $489 million.
  • Increase UH degrees in STEM fields. Goal: 1,803. Actual: 1,963.
  • Increase non-state revenue streams. Goal: $815 million. Actual: $897 million.

The university fell short of cutting its maintenance backlog to $246 million. The actual backlog in 2011 was $455 million. It also did not succeed in increasing the number of invention disclosures, patents and licenses — an area that Greenwood says is one of her top priorities this year.

Sen. Donna Mercado Kim also reprimanded university officials for a $10 million deficit in the athletic program — which officials said was hurt by low ticket sales this year, and struggles because of the high cost of travel from the islands for athletic events.

Kim said the university is not tapping into the full potential of its athletic merchandising efforts and suggested using the proceeds from the university’s Rainbowtique stores to supplement the athletic program revenues — right now they go toward other university operations.

Starting in July, the university will operate with a new financial system — the first upgrade since 1998. The new one is free, said David Lassner, vice president for information systems, because it is the product of a consortium UH has been participating in.

It will integrate with a new research management system, streamlining what goes on in the laboratories with what goes on in the accounting offices, Lassner said.

“Both of those systems will talk to each other,” he told senators. “We have $489 million right now in extramural (research) funding, so integrating that with our financial system will be hugely helpful.”

Read Greenwood’s budget testimony and browse the university system’s budget documents here.

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