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The 2019 Legislative Session

Aloha,

The upcoming legislative session is a chance for Hawai‘i Community College to continue to advance its mission to help students “pursue academic achievement and workforce readiness.”

Included here are some of the main initiatives on the horizon for which the UH system and Hawai‘i CC will be seeking legislative support. The support of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii and its members is greatly appreciated!

Manono Campus Redevelopment

Current facilities at the Manono campus in Hilo are sorely inadequate given that many of the buildings were designed and constructed in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Continued use of the substandard facilities will have negative impacts on the effectiveness and quality of educational programs and provide increasing challenges in meeting student recruitment and retention goals.

With support from the UH Board of Regents (BOR), we are seeking $2 million this year for design and planning and seeking $50 million next year to fund the first phase of construction. The BOR request was not included in the executive branch budget proposal to the Legislature.

Hawai‘i Promise Program

The Hawaii Promise Program is a “last-dollar” scholarship that ensures the direct costs of education (tuition, fees, books, supplies) are covered for University of Hawai’i Community College (UHCC) students who demonstrate need.

The program was established at the UHCC campuses in 2017 and expanded/continued in 2018. Over 1,500 UHCC students have been served. This includes over 200 Hawai‘i Community College students who have received Hawai‘i Promise Scholarships totaling more than $288,000.

The BOR and the Governor’s budget requests both include $19.7 million for each year of the biennium. The funding would be used to expand the Hawai‘i Promise program to the four-year UH campuses and continue it at the UHCCs.

HINET

Though programs like federal Pell Grants and Hawai‘i Promise cover many of the direct costs of education, indirect costs also burden many students and can prevent them from achieving their goals.

HINET, which is a partnership between the UHCCs and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services, can help in those situations. HINET is a state and federally funded program that provides assistance to eligible students for services not typically covered by financial aid. Services include things that are critical to students’ success such as transportation, emergency costs, and food. To be eligible for HINET, students must meet SNAP eligibility requirements.

THe HINET program at Hawai‘i CC is currently managed by a grant-funded position. The BOR budget request includes $520,000 each year of the biennium to add a HINET coordinator position at Hawaii CC and the other UHCC campuses. This request is not included in the executive branch budget proposal to the Legislature.

Those are some of the major initiatives that Hawai’i CC and our sister campuses will be advocating for in order to ensure our students and this community have the education resources necessary for success.

If you have any questions about the upcoming legislative session, don’t hesitate to reach out at rsolems@hawaii.edu.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas