The Hawaii Promise Scholarship provides crucial financial assistance for qualifying students attending any of the seven University of Hawai’i (UH) community colleges across the state. This “last dollar” scholarship covers unpaid direct education costs after other grants, scholarships, and funding sources are applied. Read on to learn more about eligibility, how to apply, deadlines, and other key details for this valuable program.
For many students, affordability poses a major barrier to accessing higher education. The Hawaii Promise Scholarship aims to break down this barrier by providing last-dollar funding to fill remaining gaps in financial aid packages for eligible community college students. Created through state legislative appropriations beginning in 2017, over $12 million in Hawai’i Promise Scholarships have been awarded to date.
This article will cover everything prospective applicants need to know, including:
- Eligibility requirements
- Application process
- Priority deadlines
- Renewal policies
- Available funding and award amounts
Equipped with this information, students can submit strong, complete applications and maximize their chances of being awarded a Hawai’i Promise Scholarship.
Meeting all eligibility criteria is essential for Hawaii Promise Scholarship application consideration. Requirements span residency status, enrollment level, academic standing, degree-seeking status, financial aid acceptance, prior degrees, and more.
Applicants must be a State of Hawai‘i resident or qualify for the exempt status that pays in-state tuition rates. Non-residents paying out-of-state tuition do not qualify.
Students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester at any of the seven UH community colleges:
- Hawai’i Community College
- Honolulu Community College
- Kapi’olani Community College
- Kaua’i Community College
- Leeward Community College
- University of Hawai’i Maui College
- Windward Community College
Applicants are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined in their college’s financial aid policies and federal regulations. This includes meeting minimum GPA requirements and pace of progression standards.
Students must be admitted into and pursuing an approved, financial aid-eligible program leading to either an associate’s degree or certificate at one of the seven UH community colleges.
Financial Aid Acceptance
In addition to applying for the Hawaii Promise Scholarship, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year and accept all federal and state grants, scholarships, work-study, loans, and other funding they are awarded that do not require repayment. The Hawai’i Promise Scholarship is intended to fill gaps only after these other financial aid sources are exhausted.
Those who have already earned an associate or bachelor’s degree do not qualify for the scholarship. It is reserved for students pursuing their first undergraduate credential.
Meeting all eligibility criteria is required for applicants to be considered. The Hawaii Promise Scholarship Selection Committee then prioritizes awards based on financial need.
How to Apply
Submitting a timely, accurate scholarship application is vital. Here is an overview of the process:
Complete the FAFSA
As accepting all available financial aid is an eligibility requirement, completing the annual FAFSA is an essential first step. This determines eligibility for other federal, state, and college aid programs. The FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible once the application opens each year on October 1.
Complete Scholarship Application
Once students complete the FAFSA, they can apply for institutional and state aid, including the Hawai’i Promise Scholarship, by completing their UH community college’s online scholarship application. This is available through each college’s financial aid portal.
Submit Supporting Documentation
The UH community college may request additional documentation to verify information provided on the FAFSA or scholarship application. Promptly submit any documents requested.
Sign Award Letter
If selected to receive the Hawaii Promise Scholarship, students must accept the terms and conditions of the award by signing and returning their financial aid award letter by the specified reply date.
Submitting complete, accurate applications and paperwork according to guidance and deadlines will give applicants the best shot at being awarded.
While students may apply for the Hawaii Promise Scholarship through the standard published priority deadlines set by their home UH community college financial aid office, program administrators recommend applying as early as possible.
Funds are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible students demonstrating financial need. Meeting the FAFSA priority filing date of March 1 preceding the academic year and submitting the college scholarship application immediately when it opens thereafter provides applicants the best chance of being selected.
The Hawaii Promise Scholarship program is funded through annual state legislative appropriations. Between $3-5 million is awarded statewide across all community college campuses each year. Individual award amounts for 2021-2022 ranged from $200 up to $1,764, with an average scholarship of $2,339 per student.
Over 2,200 UH community college students statewide received Hawai’i Promise Scholarships in 2021-2022. Awards covered unpaid direct educational costs after subtracting expected family contributions, federal/state grants, and other scholarship aid.
The Hawaii Promise Scholarship may be renewed annually for up to four semesters total as long as the recipient continues meeting all eligibility criteria. This includes:
- Maintaining Hawai‘i residency
- Carrying at least 6 credits per semester
- Earning a minimum cumulative GPA per college financial aid academic progress policies
- Applying via FAFSA and submitting the college application each award year
- Accepting all other offered grants, scholarships, work-study allocation, loans, and funding opportunities excluding those requiring repayment
Meeting renewal criteria guarantees the scholarship will be available up to four semesters total for associate’s degree-seeking students and up to two semesters total for qualifying certificate-seeking students. Funding is contingent upon continued legislative support for the program.
The Hawaii Promise Scholarship delivers essential financial aid to deserving UH community college students who need it most. Understanding eligibility, applying promptly, meeting renewal criteria, and being aware of legislative funding contingencies empowers applicants to maximize their opportunities. Reach out to your college financial aid office with any other questions. Educational dreams can be fulfilled with this critical last-dollar support!
Key Hawaii Promise Scholarship Details
|$3-5 million awarded annually statewide across 7 campuses
|Average Award (2021-22)
|<ul><li>Hawai’i resident </li><li>Enrolled in 6+ credits per semester</li><li>Maintain satisfactory academic progress</li><li>Pursuing first undergraduate degree or certificate</li><li>Accept all other offered financial aid</li></ul>
|<ol><li>Complete annual FAFSA</li><li>Submit UH community college scholarship application when available after FAFSA filing</li><li>Provide requested documentation promptly</li><li>Accept award terms and conditions by reply date if selected</li></ol>
|<ul><li>FAFSA: March 1</li><li>Institutional Application: Opens after FAFSA, apply ASAP when available</li></ul>
|Up to 4 semesters for degree-seekers, 2 semesters for certificate-seekers if all eligibility criteria continues being met