H.B. NO.



H.D. 2
















SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that an educated labor force and engaged citizenry are essential in todayꞌs global, knowledge-based economy.  Across the nation, states have set ambitious goals to boost college completion rates.  The University of Hawaiiꞌs Hawaii graduation initiative is a systemwide strategic initiative endorsed by the University of Hawaii board of regents with a goal to increase the educational capital of the State by increasing participation in and completion of college by students, particularly native Hawaiians, low-income students, and those from underserved regions and populations, and preparing them for success in the workforce and the community.

Furthermore, Hawaiiꞌs own 55 by ꞌ25 campaign goal focuses on increasing the percentage of working-age adults with two- or four-year degrees to fifty-five per cent by 2025.  According to the most recent data available, forty-four per cent of Hawaiiꞌs working-age adults have a postsecondary degree.  As the Stateꞌs sole public higher education system, the University of Hawaii is committed to doing its part to close the Stateꞌs projected educational attainment gap.

In April 2016, the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education issued a study that analyzed college costs in relation to family income level.  The study revealed how higher education has gone from expensive to unaffordable for most low- and middle-income families.  According to this same study, Hawaii ranked third in the nation for overall college affordability and noted that the University of Hawaii community colleges are the most affordable public two-year institutions in the nation.

The report further acknowledged that despite Hawaiiꞌs overall high affordability ranking, attending college was a big expense for families earning less than $30,000 annually; that Hawaiiꞌs financial aid policies did little to alleviate costs for these families; and that the State provided minimal need-based aid to students attending public institutions.

Although the State does not budget for scholarships, University of Hawaii policy requires that a minimum percentage of tuition revenue be set aside for need-based scholarships, including 8.8 per cent at the community colleges.  The University of Hawaii provided $46,700,000 in tuition-funded financial aid during 2014-2015, including $6,300,000 at the community colleges.  Even though financial aid through Pell grants, University of Hawaii and private scholarships, the GI Bill for service members and veterans, and employers cover much of the cost for need-based students, cost is still a barrier for certain need-based students.

The purpose of this Act is to establish the Hawaii promise program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any University of Hawaii community college and to appropriate funds to establish and implement the program.

SECTION 2.  Chapter 304A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part IV, subpart A, subdivision 1 to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"§304A-    Hawaii promise program; established.  (a)  Notwithstanding section 304A-502, there is established the Hawaii promise program to be administered by the board of regents.  The program shall provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any community college campus of the University of Hawaii.

(b)  A student enrolled at a University of Hawaii community college campus shall be eligible for scholarship consideration if the student:

(1)  Qualifies for Hawaii resident tuition;

(2)  Completes and submits the FAFSA for each academic year and accepts all federal and state aid, grants, scholarships, and other funding sources that do not require repayment;

(3)  Is enrolled in a classified degree or certificate program with six or more credits per semester;

(4)  Maintains satisfactory academic progress, as defined by the federal Title IV requirements established pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and determined by the campus where the student is enrolled; and

(5)  Has been determined by the campus to have unmet direct cost needs.

     (c)  Scholarships shall be awarded to the extent possible based on available funds:

(1)  On a first-come, first-served basis; and

(2)  In an amount equal to the studentꞌs unmet direct cost need based on the FAFSA calculation of need minus what is available from Pell grants and other scholarships.

(d)  As used in this section:

"Direct cost" includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, and transportation.

"FAFSA" means the Free Application for Federal Student Aid."

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2017-2018 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2018-2019 to establish and implement the Hawaii promise program, including the provision of scholarships.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the University of Hawaii for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.


Report Title:

University of Hawaii Promise Program; Community Colleges; Scholarships; Appropriation



Establishes the Hawaii Promise Program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at a University of Hawaii community college.  Appropriates funds to establish and implement the program.  (HB1591 HD2)




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