Hawai‘i Neighborhood Faculty provides likelihood to attempt yr of faculty — without spending a dime _ Large Island Now

As 42-year-old salon proprietor Iesha Henderson watched her good friend graduate from Hawaiʻi Neighborhood Faculty in Hilo final yr, she determined at that second it was time to return to highschool.

Twenty years earlier, she had dreamed of going to varsity, however her plans abruptly modified when her mom was identified with thyroid most cancers. She stayed residence to handle her. Alongside the way in which, Henderson grew to become a spouse and mom of three.

Iesha Henderson makes a kihei (a cape) from a fern plant for her Hawaiian Research Course at Hawai‘i Neighborhood Faculty. (Photograph courtesy: Iesha Henderson)

However 5 years in the past, earlier than she died, Henderson’s mom made her promise she’d return to highschool and get a level. Henderson puzzled: “How do you return after 20 years?”

Now, the Volcano resident is nearly performed yr one in pursuit of a bachelor’s diploma in enterprise. She made it occur with the assistance of Hawaiʻi Neighborhood Faculty’s Ēlama and Hilo One scholarship applications — which offers one yr of free neighborhood school to younger folks or older adults with “compelling obstacles.”

To qualify for the scholarship, an individual have to be a first-generation school pupil (have taken lower than 12 credit score hours) and have monetary challenges, be unemployed or work a fancy schedule. The particular person should even be accepted to both the neighborhood school’s Hilo campus or Pālamanui campus in Kona.

This one-time scholarship covers a full yr of tuition — as much as 12 credit per semester — charges, books and different academic bills. It additionally offers mentorship and tutorial assets.



The Ēlama program began in 2015 for college students on the Kona campus. The identify Ēlama comes from the Hawaiian phrase lama, a species of uncommon and historic bushes which can be across the Pālamanui campus. The tree’s darkish wooden was as soon as used to construct temples and was positioned on altars for enlightenment.

Due to the Ēlama program’s success, an identical program was arrange in 2017 on the East Hawai’i campus referred to as Hilo One, the makai space of the city the place there as soon as was a central market the place folks exchanged items to assist one another.

“Our objective is for college students to contemplate Hawai’i Neighborhood Faculty their very own Hilo One, a nexus the place concepts, information and assist are exchanged, resulting in enlightenment and prosperity,” based on the applications’ web site.

Each applications are based mostly on the variety of credit a pupil is taking, with a possible financial savings of as much as $4,160 in tuition and charges.

This previous yr, the neighborhood school awarded 49 scholarships between its two Large Island campuses.


The applications have been funded by greater than $500,000 in donations from the Oak Basis, Kūkʻio Basis, Takitani Basis, the Dorrance Basis of North Kohala and different supporters.

Henderson discovered in regards to the scholarship alternative final August in the course of the software course of. After being awarded the monetary assist, she mentioned: “That made it very actual for me, and now I’m ending my first yr as a freshman.”

The scholarship offers college students who may not go in any other case a style of school, inspiring them to proceed and get a level.

“We wished to get them entry to greater training,” mentioned Kanaloa Ducosin, this system’s coordinator.

In flip, the recipients of the scholarships “encourage different beforehand non-degree-seeking college students to spend money on their very own potential,” Ducosin mentioned.


Most of the recipients make the Dean’s Record.

Though the scholarship solely is obtainable for the primary yr, there are different monetary assist and scholarship alternatives for the scholars who do proceed.

Henderson mentioned the scholarship program is extra than simply monetary assist.

“They overload you with a lot assist and encouragement,” she mentioned. “I simply don’t have any concern. The primary yr gave me such a lift of confidence that I can see myself graduating.”

In the end, the training will assist the scholarship recipients safe higher-paying jobs and be capable of preserve high quality employment.

Henderson, who’s attending college on-line, mentioned she is doing homework together with her three children, ages 16, 15 and 10. All of them inspire one another. She can be graduating together with her affiliate’s diploma simply as her oldest daughter graduates from highschool. She is on monitor to graduate together with her bachelor’s diploma by the point her youngest son graduates from highschool.

Henderson plans to switch to UH at Mānoa to acquire her bachelor’s in enterprise to assist her run her salon. She mentioned: “It’s a good looking factor that irrespective of how previous you might be, goals come true if you happen to don’t cease dreaming.”

To use for the scholarship, click on right here.

Candidates should fill out an software; present a letter of advice from an expert or neighborhood member who is aware of them properly; present details about their obstacles/challenges; and attest to their dedication to the tutorial course of.

Paperwork have to be accomplished and submitted by the precedence scholarship deadlineof Could 22. Late purposes could also be accepted and thought of if funds can be found.

Eligibility for this system is proscribed to Hawaiʻi Island Residents who: