Ige proposes major expansion of ‘free college’ program for low-income students
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s not free college for everyone, but Hawaii Promise is designed to offer free college for the neediest students — and it’s set to undergo a significant expansion.
Under a proposed budget to be presented to the state Legislature, Gov. David Ige would expand the Hawaii Promise program to all four-year colleges in the UH system with $19 million in funding over fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
The governor is also proposing to bolster Hawaii Promise funding for community college students.
Hawaii Promise is designed to help low-income students cover the costs of tuition, fees, textbooks and living expenses. It’s considered a “last dollar” scholarship, which means it goes to students after other federal and private aid programs have been calculated as part of a student’s cost of attendance.
Ige said the aid is aimed at ensuring that “cost is not a barrier to higher education.”
In 2017, the first year of the program, 1,000 students got Hawaii Promise scholarships.
The governor also wants to spend an additional $1.5 million on Early College programs in Hawaii public schools.
Other highlights of his improved budget include:
- More than $400 million over two years for infrastructure improvements at schools.
- $128 million for facility modernization projects at the University of Hawaii.
- $315 million for affordable housing projects, including $100 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund.
- Some $35 million to address homelessness, including $5 million for property storage.
- Nearly $6 million for watershed protection efforts.
To see the full budget proposal, click here.
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