Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 1594

       H.D. 1

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Higher Education, to which was referred H.B. No. 1594, H.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any University of Hawaii campus by creating the Hawaii promise program and appropriating funds to establish and implement the program.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the University of Hawaii System; Faculty Senate at Leeward Community College; KASAMA, Leeward Community College; Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights; Filipino-Americans Advocacy Network; National Federation of Filipino American Associations Region 12; Nursing Advocates and Mentors, Inc.; Filipino American Citizens League; Kamehameha Schools; Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, West Oahu; Kai Hawaii, Inc.; Office of Student Equity Excellence and Diversity, University of Hawaii at Mānoa; and forty-eight individuals.


     Your Committee finds that Hawaii has a college completion rate goal of 55 by '25 with the hope of increasing the percentage of working-age adults with two- or four-year degrees to fifty-five percent by 2025.  Your Committee further finds that the University of Hawaii has a system wide, strategic graduation initiative with a goal of increasing the educational capital of the State by increasing participation in college by students, particularly Native Hawaiians, low-income students, and those from underserved regions and populations.  An educated labor force and engaged citizenry are essential in today's global, knowledge-based economy.


     Your Committee finds that as the cost of higher education continues to rise and become more burdensome for families, attendance and completion of college become especially difficult for students.  According to a 2016 report by the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Hawaii's financial aid policies did little to alleviate costs for families earning less than $30,000 annually and the State provided minimal need-based aid to students attending public institutions.  This measure attempts to address these issues by providing scholarships for the unmet needs of qualified students.


     Your Committee notes that the companion to this measure, S.B. No. 1162, S.D. 2 (Regular Session of 2017), which was previously passed by the Senate, is a substantially similar measure that also establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii promise program.  Your Committee concludes that the language in S.B. No. 1162, S.D. 2, is preferable because it includes all University of Hawaii campuses, both community college campuses and non-community college campuses, in the scholarship program.  Your Committee further finds that the language in S.B. No. 1162, S.D. 2, specifies eligibility requirements for community college students that are distinct from eligibility requirements for students at other campuses, and also appropriates funds distinctly between the types of campuses.


     Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by deleting its contents and inserting the contents of S.B. No. 1162, S.D. 2, a substantially similar measure, which:


     (1)  Makes the Hawaii promise program apply to all University of Hawaii campuses, including the community colleges;


     (2)  Provides program requirements that include enrollment in a classified degree or certificate program of six or more credits per semester for students attending community colleges and enrollment in a classified degree or certificate program of fifteen or more credits per semester for students attending a non-community college campus;


     (3)  Establishes that students must earn a minimum of twelve credits per academic year if the student is enrolled at a community college, and thirty credits per academic year if the student is enrolled at a non-community college campus, in order to maintain a scholarship;


     (4)  Clarifies that if a student is returned to good standing after a period of probation, but subsequently fails to comply with the academic requirements at any time within an eight-semester period, after the return to good standing, the student's scholarship shall be revoked;


     (5)  Clarifies the definition of "direct cost";


     (6)  Establishes the Hawaii promise program special fund to be used to provide financial assistance to qualified students through Hawaii promise program scholarships;


     (7)  Requires the University of Hawaii to report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session with information on the special fund, including the number of scholarships provided under the Hawaii promise program and recommendations on all tuition waivers; and


     (8)  Appropriates funds into the Hawaii promise program special fund and creates two appropriation sections that appropriate monies from the Hawaii promise program special fund to separately fund scholarships at four-year campuses and community colleges.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Higher Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1594, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1594, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Higher Education,