Ige proposes major expansion of ‘free college’ program for low-income students

Ige proposes major expansion of ‘free college’ program for low-income students
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Source: UH Manoa)

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.

#LIVE: Gov. David Ige discusses his priorities for the new year and the budget outlook #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Monday, December 17, 2018

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