MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii system is looking to encourage students who fell just short of earning their degrees.
A new pilot program targets "stopped out" students who have some college credits, but no degree.
The program offers encouragement, aid and incentives -- like a free first class -- to those who dropped out before fulfilling degree requirements.
About 150 students took advantage of the opportunity and returned to school. One of those students is Kalaheo Macadangdang.
He was just three credits short of his associate's degree when he dropped out in 2016.
"I decided to take a break from school, which was supposed to be a semester, ended up being a year and a half," Macadangdang said.
With the program, he's now taking classes at the UH Maui campus.
"They just needed that little nudge, okay, I have this opportunity, I should take advantage of it and come back to college," Kyla Wayas-Kapaku, Academic Counselor at UH Maui, said.
The university will discuss expanding the community colleges pilot project statewide to give about 34,000 students the opportunity to go back to school.
According to the 2016 Hawaii State Data Book, more than 95,000 Hawaii residents between the ages of 25 to 44 have some college credits, but no degree.