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Eligibility Requirements

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is required for all financial aid.

Eligibility and Requirements

The Cost of Attendance (COA) student budget is an estimate of the various costs associated with enrollment at Hawai’i Community College. Actual costs vary by enrollment level, living arrangements, and lifestyle. Tuition, fees, and dorm expenses (including meal plans) are charged directly to your UH account, but other costs including books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses are included for planning purposes. Additionally, the COA is used to determine federal and institutional award eligibility. The chart below consists of averages based on full-time enrollment, but your COA budget will be recalculated and finalized after the Pell Recalculation Date (PRD - sometimes referred to as the census date or enrollment lock date) each semester.

Budget Category Resident Non-Resident Pacific Islander
Tuition $ 3,144 $ 8,280 $ 4,716
Fees $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Books and Supplies $ 1,350 $ 1,350 $ 1,350
Housing and Food (With Parent) $ 5,853 $ 5,853 $ 5,853
Housing and Food (On Campus - UH Hilo) $ 8,248 $ 8,248 $ 8,248
Housing and Food (Off Campus) $ 12,815 $ 12,815 $ 12,815
Transportation $ 2,321 $ 2,321 $ 2,321
Personal Expenses $ 2,742 $ 2,742 $ 2,742
Loan Fees (If Applicable) $ 64 $ 64 $ 64
Total (With Parent) $ 15,474 $ 20,610 $17,046
Total (On Campus - UH Hilo) $17,869 $23,005 $19,441
Total (Off Campus) $ 22,436 $ 27,572 $ 24,008

For an estimate of your annual costs after financial aid, use the Net Price Calculator (estimates are based on full-time, first degree students).

Financial aid awards are made through federal, state, and institutional methodologies, and are subject to change without notice as a result of changes to laws, regulations, and rules. Awards posted to your UH portal are automatically accepted, and are subject to all terms and conditions outlined below. Failure to comply may result in award adjustments or cancellation.

  • Ability to Benefit: Federal financial aid requires students to be considered able to benefit, which is defined as having graduated from high school or its equivalent.
  • Academic Year: The financial aid award year consists of three semesters: fall, spring, and summer. Summer is considered a trailer semester because it is the last semester of the award year.
  • Availability of Funds: All awards are made on the condition that funds are available. In the event that the federal or state governments, or other sources of aid reduce or eliminate funds, the Financial Aid Office (FAO) will reduce or cancel your award.
  • Change of Information: Any change to your legal name, address, social security number, or telephone number must be immediately reported to the Admissions and Records Office (ARO) or to the FAO, as applicable. You must notify the FAO in writing if the information reported on any of your financial aid applications has changed.
  • Citizenship Status: Federal financial aid requires students to be US citizens or eligible non-citizens, including permanent residents and citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republics of Palau, and the Marshall Islands. Additional eligible non-citizen categories are available for reference in the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Handbook.
  • Class Standing: Students with fewer than 30 completed credits are considered first-year students. Students with 30 or more completed credits are considered second-year students.
  • Dates and Deadlines: It is your responsibility to keep track of all financial aid requirements and deadlines. Be sure to check your student email ( regularly for financial aid updates, requirements, and account information.
  • Degree Applicability: Only courses that are required for degree completion are eligible for financial aid. Awards are revised on an ongoing basis throughout the school year.
  • Enrollment Changes and Withdrawals: Any change in enrollment status may result in a revised financial aid award. Changes during the semester may reduce or cancel your award, and funds may be owed back to the school or government (see the Return to Title IV section below). Notifications will be sent as changes are made.
  • Enrollment Levels: Different types of financial aid require enrollment in a minimum number of credits, categorized by enrollment levels. The 4 enrollment levels are included below:
    • Full-Time: 12+ credits
    • Three-Quarter-Time (¾-time): 9 to 11 credits
    • Half-Time (½-time): 6 to 8 credits
    • Less Than Half-Time (<½-time): 1 to 5 credits
  • Financial Need: Many financial aid awards are need-based and therefore require financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Changes to financial need or awards may result in the reduction or cancellation of need-based aid. The general calculation for financial need is provided below.
    • Financial Need = Cost of Attendance (COA) - Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Financial Holds: Outstanding or past-due financial obligations to the university will result in account holds that apply various restrictions, such as the inability to request transcripts or enroll in courses. Students who do not have enough financial aid to cover all school charges should determine the difference between the amount owed and any undisbursed aid, then pay the difference by the due date. For payment arrangements, contact the Business Office.
  • Home Institution Only: Students are only eligible for aid at Hawai’i Community College if it is their home institution. Students who are awarded at any other schools must cancel their aid and notify the FAO, or the FAO will cancel their aid at Hawai’i Community College.
  • Ineligible Degree Status: Students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, or are working on a higher degree, are generally ineligible for federal, state, and institutional grants.
  • Overawards: Exceeding the allowable total or need-based financial aid amounts will result in a COA or need overaward. Regardless of the reason, any awards that cause a COA or need overaward will be reduced or canceled, and must be paid back by the student.
  • Release of Confidential Information: If you are a dependent student, it is your responsibility to keep your parent(s) informed of any information they are required to submit, as well as any information you would like for them to know. The FAO cannot speak with parents directly unless an Authorization to Release Information form has been submitted and includes a 5-digit password. Parents (or others who are not the student) who are unable to provide the password will not be able to access student-specific information, but may receive general assistance.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress: All financial aid is subject to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy. Students are expected to read and understand the SAP policy. Failure to meet SAP will result in aid cancelation.
  • Special Early Admits: Special early admit students will not be eligible for financial aid until documentation of high school graduation or GED is submitted to the ARO.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students (those who have attended another institution) may have financial aid eligibility or payment withheld until official academic transcripts from all institutions previously attended are submitted to the ARO.

Verification is an audit process that confirms the accuracy of information reported on the FAFSA. Students are selected for verification by the US Department of Education (US DOE) both randomly and based on other factors such as common mistakes and mathematical improbabilities. Example: If you indicate on the FAFSA that you paid taxes equal to your annual income, which is an unlikely situation, your file may be selected for review. Students who submit the FAFSA and then modify their answers may also be selected.

If selected for verification, a student may be required to submit certain documents. UH uses ProVerifier+ to process verification files, and processing begins only after all requested documents are submitted, so students are encouraged to submit documents as soon as possible, otherwise financial aid delays may occur. If any discrepancies are found, corrections are sent to the federal processor to recalculate aid eligibility, which may result in either increases or decreases to aid eligibility.


Disbursement: When financial aid funds are credited to the student’s account to pay for outstanding charges.

Refund: If financial aid funds exceed outstanding charges at the time of disbursement, a refund of the difference is owed to the student and issued as a physical check or direct deposit, if applicable.


Grants, waivers, and loans are generally disbursed to your student account no earlier than 10 days before the first day of instruction, based on your enrollment level at that time, as long as all requirements are met. For first-time borrowers, loan funds will be released 30 days after the first day of instruction.

Scholarships from external agencies will be disbursed when the funds are received by the Financial Aid Office. Any questions about scholarships from external agencies should be directed to the agency.

Funds are processed electronically and applied toward your outstanding school charges. If you have excess financial aid funds, the Business Office will process a refund. For more timely refunds, all students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit at least two weeks prior to the date of disbursement.

Unless authorized, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), and Federal Direct Loans can only be disbursed toward tuition, fees, and dorm charges. Other charges on the student account, such as fees for late registration, adding or dropping classes, library or parking fines, and/or digital course materials (IDAP) must be paid separately by the student.

To allow federal financial aid to pay for all charges on your student account, you may complete a Title IV Authorization according to the steps below:

  1. Log into your MyUH portal.
  2. Click on the View My Financial Aid Information tile.
  3. Select the appropriate campus and aid year.
  4. On the Financial Aid tab, under My Award Information, click on the Award by Aid Year link.
  5. Select the Resources/Additional Information tab.
  6. Under the Federal Title IV Authorization/Cancellation heading, use the dropdown menu to select Yes or No
    1. If you select Yes, all charges posted to your account after the date of acceptance can be covered by federal financial aid, including charges for the current semester and up to $200 from a prior semester. Any excess funds will be refunded to you as indicated previously.
    2. If you select No or do not answer, federal financial aid can only be disbursed toward tuition, fees, and dorm charges.

You do not need to complete this authorization every year, however if you would like to change your answer, you may email

The US Department of Education’s (US DOE) Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula does not account for differing family circumstances that may affect a family’s ability to contribute to their student’s education. As such, congress has delegated to the school's financial aid administrator the authority to account for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis, with adequate documentation. This authority is known as professional judgment.

While the financial aid administrator is not permitted to change the EFC formula or make direct adjustments to a student's EFC, they can alter certain individual EFC components, which may result in a change to the student’s EFC. Students experiencing a reduction or loss of income may submit a Petition for Special Circumstances. Additionally, dependent students for whom it is unreasonable to contact parents for FAFSA completion purposes may submit an Appeal for Dependency Override. Both forms are available on the Financial Aid Forms web page.

The decision of the financial aid administrator is final and not subject to appeal.

When a recipient of Title IV aid (Pell Grant, SEOG, Direct Loans, etc) completely withdraws, Hawai’i Community College must determine the amount of Title IV aid that the student has earned. Unearned funds must be returned to the US Department of Education (US DOE). This determination of funds earned and subsequent return of funds to the US DOE is called Return to Title IV (R2T4).

Withdrawal Process

To officially withdraw from Hawaiʻi Community College, students must withdraw through their MyUH portal. Students who stop attending before completing the semester are considered to be unofficially withdrawn. Students who fail to earn a passing grade in any of their courses may be considered to have unofficially withdrawn if the reason they did not earn any passing grades is because they stopped attending prior to the completion of the semester.

R2T4 Calculation

Within 30 days of the date that the school determines a student has completely withdrawn (date of determination), the FAO is required to perform an R2T4 calculation and notify the student. The Financial Aid Office (FAO) will return any funds owed to the US DOE within 45 days of the date of determination, which may result in a balance owed to the school.

The R2T4 calculation begins by determining the student’s last date of attendance (LDA), as reported by Hawai’i Community College instructors. The LDA is then used to determine the percentage of the semester that the student attended, which is used to calculate the amount of aid that the student earned. In the event that an LDA cannot be confirmed, the FAO will presume that the student did not attend and cancel all aid, at which point the student will be responsible for repaying all outstanding charges.

If a student has attended at least 60% of the semester, funds are considered to have been fully earned and the student is entitled to their full Title IV award.

Returning Unearned Title IV Funds

After the R2T4 calculation is performed, the FAO will reduce or cancel aid until the student’s awards are equal to the earned amount, in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Student Loans
  3. Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Pell Grants
  5. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  6. FSEOG Grants

The institution will then return unearned funds to the US DOE from its tuition revenue account. Students are responsible for paying any outstanding institutional charges that are incurred as a result of the R2T4 process.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements

If the total amount of Title IV aid that a student earned is more than the amount disbursed, then the student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. In the event that this occurs, the FAO will determine the student’s remaining undisbursed eligibility and disburse the funds.