HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2255

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PROMISE PROGRAM.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the University of Hawaii's Hawaii graduation initiative is a systemwide strategic initiative endorsed by the board of regents with a goal to increase the educational capital of the State by increasing students' educational participation in and completion of a postsecondary education, particularly for Native Hawaiians, low-income students, and those from underserved regions and populations, and preparing them for success in the workforce and their communities.

The legislature further finds that an educated labor force and engaged citizenry are essential in today's global, knowledge-based economy. Across the nation, states have set ambitious goals to boost college completion rates. Hawaii's own "55 by 25" 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-three per cent of Hawaii's working age adults currently have a postsecondary degree. As the State's sole system of public higher education, the University of Hawaii is committed to doing its part to close the State's 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 that 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 the University of Hawaii community colleges are the most affordable public two-year institutions in the nation.

The report further acknowledged that despite Hawaii's commendable overall college affordability ranking, attending college is a big expense for families earning less than $30,000 annually; Hawaii's financial aid policies are not fully able to alleviate costs for these families; and the State provides minimal need-based aid to students attending public institutions. Since this report, the University of Hawaii has implemented the Hawaii community college promise program, which is a need-based award intended to be applied toward the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any community college campus of the University of Hawaii. Awards are contingent upon funding and amounts are determined by the individual students Free Application for Federal Student Aid information.

Financial aid through federal Pell Grants; University of Hawaii and private scholarships; the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, as amended, otherwise known as the "GI Bill," for service members and veterans; and employers covers much of the cost for need‑based students. However, cost is still a barrier for certain need-based students, especially for those who do not qualify for the Hawaii community college promise program because they are enrolled at one of the University of Hawaiis four-year campuses.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Expand the Hawaii community college promise program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified undergraduate students enrolled at a four-year campus of the University of Hawaii; and

(2) Provide an appropriation to establish and implement the expanded program.

SECTION 2. Section 304A-506, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]304A-506[]] Hawaii [community college] promise program; established. (a) Notwithstanding section 304A-501, there is established the Hawaii [community college] 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 community college campus shall be eligible for scholarship consideration for a maximum of eight semesters if the student:

(1) Qualifies for Hawaii resident tuition;

(2) Completes and submits the Free Application for Federal Student Aid 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 federal requirements established pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and determined by the campus at which the student is enrolled; and

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

(c) A student enrolled in an undergraduate program at a University of Hawaii campus, other than a community college campus, shall be eligible for scholarship consideration for a maximum of eight semesters if the student:

(1)    Qualifies for Hawaii resident tuition;

(2)    Completes and submits the Free Application for Federal Student Aid 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 twelve or more credits per semester;

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

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

[(c)] (d) Scholarships shall be awarded to the extent possible based on available funds and on a greatest need basis. An award granted to a student shall be equal to the student's unmet direct cost need, based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid calculation of need, less the amounts available to the student from Pell grants and other scholarships.

[(d)] (e) To maintain a scholarship under this section[, a]:

(1) A student enrolled at a community college shall meet the requirements of subsection (b)(4)[.]; and

(2) A student enrolled in an undergraduate program at a University of Hawaii campus, other than a community college campus, shall meet the requirements of subsection (c)(4).

[(e)] (f) As used in this section, "direct cost" means any cost directly related to a student's education, including tuition; educational fees; and the costs of books, supplies, and transportation between the student's dwelling and the student's campus."

SECTION 3. Section 304A-2102, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]304A-2102[]] Hawaii [community college] promise program subaccount. (a) There is established the Hawaii [community college] promise program subaccount within the University of Hawaii general fund. Moneys in the subaccount shall be used to provide financial assistance to qualified students through Hawaii [community college] promise program scholarships under section 304A-506.

(b) The University of Hawaii shall submit a report to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session regarding the subaccount. The report shall include but not be limited to the number of scholarships provided under the Hawaii [community college] promise program during the preceding year.

(c) This subaccount is not intended to provide loans or keep track of payback provisions."

SECTION 4. 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 2020-2021 for the expansion of the Hawaii promise program pursuant to this Act, including the provision of scholarships.

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

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2020.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

UH; Hawaii Promise Program; Scholarships; Four‑year UH Campus; Appropriation

 

Description:

Expands the Hawaii community college promise program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students at any four‑year University of Hawaii campus who meet certain eligibility criteria. Appropriates funds for the program.

 

 

 

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