Hawaii Works on Free-College Plan

LIHUE, Hawaii— The University of Hawaii is working with state leaders to secure $2.5 million to implement a scholarship program for community college students in need.

The program, called Hawaii’s Promise, is aimed at removing cost as a barrier to higher education. It would cover students’ tuition, fees, books and transportation expenses.

“The best way to lift people out of poverty is to address educational inequality and provide access to higher education; Hawaii’s Promise does exactly that,” John Morton, UH vice president for community colleges, told The Garden Island.

While some students receive financial assistance from the federal government, it is often not enough to cover all the costs associated with pursuing higher education. The UH program “will completely close that gap,” Morton said.
Rhief Callahan, a student at Kauai Community College, takes online courses to save money by living at home. He said he is interested in what Hawaii’s Promise has to offer.

“It costs an arm and a leg to go to school,” Callahan said. “I’m on financial aid and have a couple scholarships, so this program would be awesome. It would definitely make things easier for me.”

To be eligible for a scholarship, students would have to qualify for resident tuition and be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at a UH community college for a minimum of six credits per semester.

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