The four basic types of financial aid are grants, scholarships, work-study, and student loans
- Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid as long as all fund requirements are met. Grants are awarded based on financial need and scholarships are awarded based on merit.
- Work-study provides funding for part-time employment to students with financial need.
- Loans are borrowed funds that must be repaid, often with accumulated interest and fees.
Financial aid is only available to students who are in compliance with all financial aid policies.
All state and institutional financial aid, and some federal financial aid, is limited based on availability of funds. To maximize free financial aid opportunities, students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the UH Common Scholarship Application annually, no later than March 1st for the upcoming school year.
The Pell Grant is a federal grant available to FAFSA-eligible students who have enough financial need, according to the federal financial need formula, and have not already earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. Federal Pell Grant amounts are adjusted each year, and individual financial aid offers are prorated based on enrollment level and financial need.
Students are generally eligible for up to 6 full-time school years (12 full-time semesters) of Pell Grant. The US Department of Education (US DOE) uses the percentage of a full-time school year to track Pell Grant usage. One full-time school year (two semesters) is equal to 100%, one full-time semester is equal to 50%, one half-time semester is equal to 25%, etc. Therefore, 6 full-time years of Pell Grant would be 600%. This limit is referred to as Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (Pell LEU).
More information about the Federal Pell Grant is available online at the US Department of Education’s (US DOE) Federal Pell Grant web page.
Requirements: FAFSA, financial need, full-time or part-time enrollment
Hawai'i Promise is a last-dollar state grant intended to ensure that the direct costs of attending college are covered by free financial aid for Hawai’i resident, first-degree students with financial need. Offer amounts are determined by calculating total direct costs (tuition, fees, books, and supplies), then subtracting any other free financial aid. That number is then compared to the student's remaining unmet need, and the lesser value is the Hawai’i Promise amount.
Hawai’i Promise is initially awarded based on full-time enrollment projections, but if students enroll in fewer credits, their direct costs are lower, and therefore the grant amount is reduced. Additionally, because the grant is only intended to make up the difference between a student's direct costs and other free financial aid, receipt of other grants and scholarships will result in a Hawai’i Promise reduction.
Hawai’i Promise disbursements and adjustments begin as early as 10 days before the semester begins and occur throughout the school year.
Requirements: FAFSA, financial need, minimum half-time enrollment
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is a federal grant available to FAFSA-eligible students with the most financial need according to the federal financial need formula. More information about the SEOG is available online at the US Department of Education’s (US DOE) Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant web page.
Requirements: FAFSA, financial need, minimum half-time enrollment
The University of Hawai’i (UH) Opportunity Grant is a UH grant that is awarded based on financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Requirements: FAFSA, financial need, minimum half-time enrollment
The Native Hawaiian Tuition Waiver is a Hawai’i CC grant for students of Hawaiian ancestry who are Hawai’i residents and have financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This grant can only pay for Hawai’i CC tuition (courses at other campuses are not covered).
Requirements: Native Hawaiian, Hawai’i resident, FAFSA, financial need, minimum half-time enrollment
The Second Century Scholars Program is a state grant available for students of Native Hawaiian ancestry who are first-degree, Hawai’i residents with financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Requirements: Native Hawaiian, Hawai’i resident, first degree, FAFSA, financial need, minimum half-time enrollment
The Hawai’i B+ Scholarship is a University of Hawai’i (UH) scholarship available to Hawai’i resident students at Hawai’i CC who enroll in the school year directly following graduation from a State of Hawai’i public high school. Students must have earned a minimum 3.0 high school GPA, completed a rigorous high school curriculum as defined by the State of Hawai’i, and have financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
A rigorous high school curriculum is currently defined as 4 credits of English, 3 credits of math (including Algebra I and Geometry), 3 credits of science (including Biology), and 3 credits of college preparatory coursework, such as foreign languages, fine arts, and social sciences.
For consideration, FileDrop your Official High School Transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: “For Hawai’i B+ Scholarship Consideration”
Requirements: Attend college directly after high school graduation, graduate of a State of Hawai’i public high school, minimum 3.0 high school GPA, rigorous high school curriculum, Hawai’i resident, UH Common Scholarship Application, FAFSA, financial need, minimum full-time enrollment
The Hawaii CC Achievement Scholarship is awarded to students who have demonstrated achievement or service to the college (e.g. student government officers).
Requirements: UH Common Scholarship Application, minimum half-time enrollment
The University of Hawai’i Foundation (UHF) and Hawai’i CC offer many different scholarships to students who complete the UH Common Scholarship Application. Scholarship offers are made to students beginning in the spring semester before the start of the applicable school year and as funds become available. Students must be meeting all scholarship-specific requirements at the time of disbursement. Many scholarships require financial need, so completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is strongly recommended.
Requirements: UH Common Scholarship Application, FAFSA (if financial need is required), scholarship-specific
External resources are grants, scholarships, or other tuition assistance from organizations not affiliated with the University of Hawai’i system. External organizations determine their own criteria and deadlines, so be sure to read all information and track deadlines carefully. The best time to apply for external grants and scholarships is generally from October to December of the prior school year. Many external resources are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to apply early.
Students are legally obligated to report external resources to the Financial Aid Office (FAO). Most external resources are sent directly to the school, however some organizations choose to issue funds directly to students. In this case, students must notify the FAO. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in financial aid reductions, cancelations, and adverse tax-related consequences.
To report external resources, FileDrop a copy of your scholarship certificate or selection notice to email@example.com with the subject, ‘Reporting External Resources’.
While many grant and scholarship opportunities are legitimate, you should never pay to apply for grants and scholarships. Some organizations may be looking to take advantage of free advertisement by requiring students to share their websites on social media and engage in competitions to obtain the most likes, shares, comments, etc. Even if legitimate, the likelihood of winning these funds is generally low, and your time may be better spent focusing on other applications. In general, it is best to trust your instinct - if it feels like a scam or a waste of time, it probably is.
Hawai’i CC has put together a list of pre-vetted scholarship opportunities and scholarship search engines to help you start your search for external resources. Note that the links below lead to external websites that may not be accessible to users who rely on accessibility tools to interpret online content.
- Hawai’i Community Foundation
- Hawai’i Education Association
- Kamehameha Schools
- ALU LIKE - Hana Lima Scholarship Program
- Rotary Club of Hilo Bay
- American Association of University Women
- KURU Footwear
- Fastweb (Scholarship Search Engine)
- College Board (Scholarship Search Engine)
- Sallie Mae (Scholarship Search Engine)
If you are a scholarship organization and would like to add your scholarship(s) to our external scholarship list, complete the form below.
Requirements: external scholarship application, FAFSA (if financial need is required), scholarship-specific
Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a student aid program that provides funding for part-time employment to cover the costs of education. The primary benefits of work-study for students include on-campus employment that does not interfere with course schedules, wages that are not counted against future financial need, valuable job experience, networking opportunities, and a deeper connection to Hawai’i CC. The primary benefit of work-study for employers is the ability to use work-study funding to pay student employee wages.
Work-study funding is available to FAFSA-eligible students who have financial need and are eligible to work in the United States. Because financial aid is only available at the student’s home campus, students pursuing degrees from other campuses are not eligible for Hawai’i CC work-study funds, but may qualify for work-study funds from their home campus.
Student employees are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester, and up to 40 hours per week during periods of non-enrollment. However, IRS ACA tax penalties will be assessed to departments for any student employee who receives a premium tax credit (PTC) from the healthcare marketplace. To avoid penalties, departments may consider limiting student employee hours to less than 130 per month (0.75 FTE). All hours worked at any student employment job count toward this limit, so coordination amongst employers may be necessary for student employees with multiple jobs.
To qualify for work-study at Hawai’i CC, students must:
- Enroll in at least 6 degree-applicable credits,
- Apply for eligible jobs (FWS) in the University of Hawai’i Student Employment and Cooperative Education (SECE) system, and
- Receive a job offer from an eligible employer.
To pay students using work-study funds, employers must:
- Complete an Employer Work-Study Agreement and, upon approval, and
- Update the student’s payment account in SECE with the provided work-study account code.
Additional information about Federal Work-Study (FWS) is available online at the US Department of Education’s (US DOE) Federal Work-Study web page.
Requirements: student employment, FAFSA, financial need, minimum half-time enrollment
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are federal student loans available to most FAFSA-eligible students to help cover the costs of higher education. Student loans are subject to interest and loan fees, however the interest for subsidized loans is paid by the US Department of Education (US DOE) while students are enrolled half-time and during eligible deferment periods. Students are responsible for paying the accumulated interest on unsubsidized loans from the date of disbursement. Interest rates and fees are updated annually and the most current information is available on the US DOE’s Interest Rates and Fees web page.
Student loans have both annual (school year) and aggregate (lifetime) limits. Loan limits are determined by class standing, financial aid dependency status, and remaining financial need (students must have remaining financial need to qualify for subsidized loans). A breakdown of annual and aggregate loan limits is provided below.
Annual (School Year) Limits
- 1st-year: $5,500 total; $3,500 subsidized
- 2nd-year: $6,500 total; $4,500 subsidized
- 1st-year: $9,500 total; $3,500 subsidized
- 2nd-year: $10,500 total; $4,500 subsidized
Aggregate (Lifetime) Limits
- $31,000 total; $23,000 subsidized
- $57,500 total; $23,000 subsidized
Because subsidized loans do not collect interest while students are enrolled at least half-time, students can only accept unsubsidized loans once they have utilized their maximum subsidized loan eligibility for the school year.
Student loans are disbursed in two equal installments, one at the beginning of the loan period and one at the midpoint of the loan period. Additionally, first-time, first-year borrowers are subject to a 30-day waiting period before becoming eligible for their first loan disbursement.
After a student graduates, completely withdraws, transfers to a different school, stops attending classes, or otherwise enrolls in fewer than 6 degree-applicable credits (less than half-time), they must complete Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling and their loan repayment grace period begins. During this 6-month period of time, no loan payments are required and subsidized loan interest continues to be paid by the US Department of Education (US DOE). After the grace period is over, students must begin making payments to their Federal Direct Loan servicer.
To request information about accepting a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan, submit a Loan Information Request. Loan requests take 4 to 6 weeks to process, and must be submitted no later than 30 days before the last day of instruction for the semester of the loan.
Accepted Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans may be canceled before the loan disburses or up to 14 days after disbursement. After 14 days, you must work with your loan servicer to cancel or repay your loan. If you would like to cancel or reduce your accepted student loan, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requirements: FAFSA, minimum half-time enrollment
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans are loans available to biological or adoptive parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid, up to the student’s cost of attendance budget. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required. If your PLUS Loan application is denied, the student can request additional unsubsidized loan funding, or you can add an endorser (co-signer) to your application.
To request information about applying for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, submit a Loan Information Request. Loan requests take 4 to 6 weeks to process, and must be submitted no later than 30 days before the last day of instruction for the semester of the loan.
Accepted Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans may be canceled before the loan disburses or up to 14 days after disbursement. After 14 days, you must work with your loan servicer to cancel or repay your loan. If you would like to cancel or reduce your accepted student loan, email email@example.com.
Requirements: FAFSA, Parent PLUS application, minimum half-time enrollment
Private education loans are non-federal loans, offered by banks and other lenders, for higher education expenses. Before applying for and considering private education loans, students should submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and utilize all available grants, scholarships, and federal student loan options. Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid and federal student loans are often better than private loans because of government provisions and safeguards that are implemented to protect students, which are not available for most private education loans. For specific information regarding private loans, including how to apply, students must contact the lender of their own choosing.
Hawai’i CC does not recommend using private student loans and does not maintain a preferred lender list.
Requirements: FAFSA, private loan approval, eligible degree or certificate program, minimum half-time enrollment, minimum 2.0 cumulative Hawai’i CC GPA