• Hawaiʻi State Senate

Budget Chairs provide $2M budget for post-secondary college counseling for public school seniors

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, and Representative Sylvia Luke, Chair of the Finance Committee, have proposed a $2 million budget to assist in defraying college costs for public school seniors and funded through the CARES Act Relief Fund.

The funding contained in Senate Bill 126 was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Friday, June 26, and then sent to the Governor.“We need to make sure we are providing our high school graduates with the resources to pursue education and training opportunities that will help to build Hawai‘i’s 21st century workforce,” said Senator Dela Cruz.

The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) is asking that the State Legislature match its $2 million commitment to the Stronger Together Hawaii Scholarship Fund and the HCF will waive all administrative fees to the State’s matching contribution.

“About two weeks ago,” said HCF President/CEO Micah Kane, “in partnership with First Hawaiian Bank, we each contributed $1 million to create a new initiative targeting the 11,000 public school seniors who were impacted by COVID during their final semester of their senior year. As you know, the final semester of your senior year is the most important time where college counselors are working with seniors to help prepare them for a post-secondary career path.

“This initiative complements a program that was funded 100 percent by philanthropy called the Next Steps to Your Future Program. This program, run by the University of Hawai`i, provides one-on-one college counseling and access to a free online career exploration course for every senior graduating from a public school.

Kane said that “over the past 30 days, more than 3,000 graduates are participating in the program. These seniors will also need a lot of financial supports to go to and stay in college. We anticipate a high demand for these funds and we welcome this partnership with the State.”

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