UH to get $36M for high-speed Internet access

Sept. 10, 2010 at 4:10 a.m.

HONOLULU (AP) - The University of Hawaii will receive $34 million to provide high-speed Internet access to public colleges and schools around the state, officials said Friday.

The federal grant will allow schools and libraries to have access at speeds of a gigabit per second, and UH campuses to reach 10 gigabits a second. A second $2 million grant will finance the purchase of nearly 700 computers for public use in 66 locations throughout the state.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii unveiled the awards via a video message to the state's first higher education summit, sponsored by UH.

The summit in Honolulu featured speeches by Undersecretary Martha Kanter of the U.S. Department of Education, who oversees higher education programs, and James Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan.

At a news conference, UH President M.R.C. Greenwood said the two federal grants are "perfect examples" of the important relationship the university has "to the educational success of the state."

University officials help draft grant proposals that, when awarded, aid UH and other institutions, she added.

Kantor applauded the university's efforts to improve itself. But she noted that for UH to meet the Obama administration's goals to raise the number of Americans going to and graduating from college by 2020, Hawaii especially should increase the number of Native Hawaiians attending UH system campuses.

Greenwood said UH is pursuing three initiatives: increasing graduation rates by 25 percent by 2015, improving relations with Hawaii's business community and upgrading the system's infrastructure.

UH suffered from budget cuts in recent years, she noted.

"Make no mistake, having $100 million cut out of the budget and the 23 percent decrease in your resources is a very, very hard thing for the university to cope with," Greenwood said.

But faculty and employee pay cuts and other reductions led officials to discover more efficient ways of accomplishing their work, she said.

"The reality is, the budget crisis did force us to think about how we could improve our efficiencies - and we have," Greenwood added.



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