STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1148

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 1291

H.D. 1

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Higher Education, to which was referred H.B. No. 1291, H.D. 1, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO SCHOLARSHIPS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to create a special education-specific eligibility criteria for the Hawaii State Scholars Program and Hawaii Community College Promise Program; specifically, to allow high-achieving applicants to the University of Hawaii (University) and students enrolled at any community college campus of the University, who graduated from a public high school in the State with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0; and qualified for and received special education services for two or more years during enrollment in grades kindergarten through twelve, to be eligible to receive scholarships under the respective programs.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the University of Hawaii System, Special Education Advisory Council, and four individuals.

 

Your Committee finds that the Hawaii State Scholars Program for University applicants was established under section 304A-504, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to encourage Hawaii residents to pursue post-secondary school education. The program offers scholarship to high-achieving applicants who are residents of the State, can present evidence of academic excellence (i.e., valedictorians, cumulative high school grade point average of 4.0, top ten percentile standardized college admission test score), are enrolled at the University within eighteen months of high school graduation, and maintain satisfactory progress toward degree completion and a cumulative 3.0 grade point average. Your Committee also finds that the Hawaii Community College Promise Program was established under section 304A-506, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to make college affordable for all students by providing scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any community college campus of the University.

 

According to the Special Education Advisory Council, students in special education constitute approximately ten percent of the State's public-school population. There is a massive achievement gap between students in regular education and special education. For example, the 2018 graduation rate for special education students was sixty-four percent, compared to eighty-seven percent for students in regular education. The 2018 college enrollment rate of special education students was thirty percent, compared to regular education students' fifty-seven percent. Your Committee believes this measure will encourage high-achieving special education students to pursue post-secondary education, continue to drive for excellence during their enrollment, and enhance their lives by availing themselves to the opportunities for a better personal and profession life in Hawaii.

 

Your Committee notes the University's request to remove section 2 of this measure that creates a special education-specific eligibility criteria for the Hawaii Community College Promise Program because it is a "need-based" scholarship program available to all eligible community college students, including students with disabilities, who meet the "need-based" eligibility criteria.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Allowing applicants for the University to be eligible for scholarship under the Hawaii State Scholars Program if the applicant:

 

(A) Graduated from a public high school in the State with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0; and

 

(B) Qualified for and received special education services for three or more years, instead of two or more years, during enrollment in grades seven through twelve, instead of kindergarten through twelve;

 

(2) Removing section 2, which creates a special education-specific eligibility criteria for the Hawaii Community College Promise Program, as requested by the University; and

 

(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

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. 1291, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1291, 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,

 

 

 

________________________________

DONNA MERCADO KIM, Chair