The majority of University of Hawaii Manoa students who responded to a survey on increasing the athletic fee don’t like the idea.

The survey of 2,236 students found that 65% of them do not want to pay an increased fee, according to results released Friday. However, the survey also found that 73% of students think athletics enhances the university’s image.

Students currently pay a $50 fee each semester.

The survey found that those who hold a positive image of the athletic department or have attended at least one athletic event, about a third of those surveyed, were more likely to support possible increases to the fee.

Aloha Stadium. UH Football vs. UNLV. . 22 nov 2014 ALOHA STADIUM, HONOLULU, HAWAII. photo CORY LUM/ CIVIL BEAT
Most of the University of Hawaii Manoa students surveyed don’t support an increase in the athletic fee. Cory Lum / Civil Beat/2014

UH Manoa’s athletics department has struggled to balance its budget in recent years due in part to $7.2 million in costs unique to Hawaii, such as the travel to and from the mainland for games.

One of the solutions to balance the budget proposed to the UH Board of Regents last Fall was an increase in the athletic fee.

The fee has not been raised since 2011 when it was implemented. It brings in about $1.5 million in annual revenues, which represents about 3.8% of the athletics operating budget. That’s the lowest in the Mountain West Conference.

Athletics Director Dave Matlin presented possible scenarios for adjusting the fee in a presentation to the board in December. One of the scenarios was to raise the fee to the Mountain West average of $112 for each student a semester. That could bring the department about $3.4 million in revenue, according to the presentation.

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