College-bound students and their parents look earnestly each year for scholarships and grants to alleviate the financial burden of college tuition. While there is an abundance of merit-based and needs-based opportunities, the time required to find them and apply — often months of ongoing research and writing — can discourage prospective students and families.
What if closing the gap on college tuition was as easy as submitting your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) along with your previous year’s tax return to the university of your choice?
Hawai‘i Pacific University is offering such a time- and cost-saving approach for local Hawai‘i families. The “Holomua Commitment” was created exclusively for in-state, first-time, full-time freshmen, and it guarantees the private university will meet 100% of local students’ unmet tuition need, based on their federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
“Our goal at HPU is to move beyond the perception that private schools are expensive or unattainable for the majority of families in Hawai‘i,” says Greg Grauman, vice president of enrollment management for Hawai‘i Pacific University.
HPU’s Holomua Commitment helps students who are legal residents of Hawai‘i, of which less than 60% attend college*, get a higher education and graduate with less than $10,000 in student debt.
“Families should be able to focus on the college that is the right fit for their child’s success rather than worry about its affordability,” says Grauman. “HPU is actively building pathways to make education affordable for all of Hawai‘i’s keiki, and our Holomua Commitment is a big part of that.”
Finding the right fit is worth the time investment upfront. According to a study published by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on students whose college journey began 2008 and completed in 2014, 37 percent of students changed schools at least once while earning their degree. While the financial implications of transferring were not looked at in depth, transferring course credits isn’t necessarily 1:1, which can extend a student’s length of study and potentially cost more in the long run.
So what are those indicators of a good match between student and university? Curriculum and learning environment, according to Grauman. HPU is recognized for allowing students to customize their degree programs, supported by faculty mentorship, in order to build careers that integrate their passions with their skills. Combined with small class sizes and the most diverse student body of any private nonprofit university in the U.S., HPU graduates are equipped to enter the workforce market-ready and with a global perspective that gives them competitive advantage.
You don’t have to take their word for it, though. Payscale.com ranked HPU as the #1 return on investment for all Hawai‘i universities, based on an evaluation of what alumni earn in the job market and what they spent to earn their degree.
“A college education is an investment in one’s future, and it’s an investment you want to make confidently. Once you understand the sticker price of tuition is not the same as your cost to attend, the conversation about affordability changes rapidly.”
Hawai‘i Pacific University gave more than $47 million in scholarships and grants in 2017, awarding 91% of its admitted students for merit, financial need or both. Learn about how your family can take advantage of HPU’s Holomua Commitment at hpu.edu/holomua.
*Data sourced from Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education “College Career Readiness Indicators” (CCRI) Report on the Class of 2015.