Financial Aid and Student Loans in Hawaii

Aloha, and congratulations! You’re going to be studying in the happiest U.S. state—Hawaii. With an average cost of attendance of $29,457, 47% of college students in Hawaii graduate with student loan debt.

Hawaii is a superb place to study. Not only do you have surf and sand, but Hawaii also ranks about average for college affordability.  

Still, college is a massive investment. Right now, you need to work out how much you’ll need to get yourself through the next few years. Then, you can look at how to acquire that amount of funding.

It’s essential to make sure that you leave your educational years with as little debt as possible. One useful approach is to snag as many grants and scholarships as possible and then to calculate how much you still need to borrow. Thorough research at this stage in your life is the smart move.

What scholarship programs does Hawaii have?

A scholarship can cover the cost of study, and it doesn’t have to be repaid.

In Hawaii, there is not a state-run scholarship program that you apply to directly. Instead, you will see a range of statewide scholarships offered through the University of Hawaii system of schools. 

The University of Hawaii System Common Scholarship Application

If you’ll be attending a four-year or two-year program through the University of Hawaii system of schools, a single application can put you in the running for a range of scholarships. 

Hawai’i Promise Scholarship

This scholarship, sponsored by the state of Hawaii, is offered to students in University of Hawaii Community College who are enrolled at least half-time. The award is need-based, as determined by your FAFSA.

Hawai’i B Plus Scholarship

Another state award provided through the University of Hawaii system, the B Plus Scholarship offers up to $2,000 per year, with these requirements:

  • Undergraduate students who completed high school in Hawaii and maintained a 3.0 or higher GPA with a rigorous courseload
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrolled full-time

The award can be renewed for up to four years, if the criteria are met and the funding is available.

Beyond the state sources, it’s also a great idea to broaden your search and look for private-foundation scholarships. You can find a great deal of valuable information about scholarships online at,, and

Here are a few examples of the many private-foundation scholarships available in Hawaii:

The Gromet Foundation Scholarship

The scholarship provides $2,000 a year to students studying in Hawaii. Students studying outside the state will get up to $5,000. The scholarship can be renewed as long as the student has met all the academic requirements the previous year.

The scholarship must be applied to tuition or costs related to attending the school. You can use the funds for course fees, accommodation, transport, and so on. Any misuse of funds leads to your immediate suspension from the program.

The deadlines may change from one year to the next. We advise that you check on the scholarship’s website to check the latest deadlines. Scholarships are awarded on merit and need.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Get your school’s counselor to sign off on the application
  • Be a resident of Hawaii and have legal residency status in the United States
  • Be financially disadvantaged, which the foundation generally defines as having an income of less than 150 percent of the poverty line for Hawaii
  • Submit the form correctly completed by the deadline and with all supporting documents. Incomplete applications are rejected automatically

Hawaii Community Foundation

Alma White was a schoolteacher and then principal in Hawaii. Education was her passion, so when she died, she left her assets to the Hawaii Community Foundation.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a resident of Hawaii
  • Be able to prove financial need
  • Attend a not-for-profit, accredited educational institution within the United States as a graduate or undergraduate student
  • Be studying full-time
  • Have a GPA of at least 2.7 – exceptional cases that don’t meet this criteria can be considered

The amount awarded starts at $1,000, with the average successful applicant getting $2,500. In special needs cases, the committee may decide to award a larger sum. Just be warned, you have to make an excellent case for them to consider giving you more money.

The money must be applied to tuition costs or costs related to attending the school. Costs such as accommodation, books, and transport also qualify here.

Fukunaga Scholarship

The Fukunaga Scholarship is an award geared toward business students with strong academic prowess and nascent leadership skills. They also need to demonstrate financial need. The funds must be used for tuition.

The scholarship provides $20,000 in total to each student. The $20,000 is paid in installments over the term you’re studying for. If you’re studying for four years, you get $5,000 a year. If you’re studying over a three-year term, you receive a pro-rated amount.

The Foundation will renew the scholarship annually as long as you achieve excellent academic results and have not broken any rules.

The number of scholarships available depends on the Foundation’s reserve fund. For the last academic year, 10 students received this award.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have a GPA of at least 3.0 (the higher, the better – competition here is fierce)
  • Be a resident of Hawaii
  • Have graduated high school in Hawaii

Hawaii Education Association (HEA) Scholarships

HEA is an educators’ association that offers six different scholarships for education. Most of the scholarships are either for high school seniors about to enroll in college, or for returning college students, with an emphasis on students pursuing education degrees. 

The scholarship program for graduating high school seniors is limited to HEA members, their children and grandchildren. The program for continuing students, however, has two scholarships of $1,000 each to be awarded to students pursuing education and does not specify that you must be an HEA member or relative. 

HEA also has scholarships specifically for education students doing their student-teaching semester, with two awards of $2,000 up for grabs. 

To be eligible:

  • You must be a student-teacher enrolled full-time in an accredited educational facility
  • You must be an undergraduate or postgraduate studying toward a degree in education
  • You have to demonstrate financial need

Applications usually close on the 1st of April annually. Do check the website directly just to confirm this date, though.

What grant programs does Hawaii have?

Qualifying for a grant requires the first step of a FAFSA application. You also need to be enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or professional college program.

Most grants are based purely on financial need. Others are targeted at specific sectors of people.

Here are a few of the grant options at your disposal in Hawaii:

Hawaii’s Opportunity Grant

If you’re attending a school in the University of Hawaii system, check out your university’s grant programs, which will include a version of the state’s Opportunity Grant program. 

Opportunity Grants are intended to make college possible for the lowest-income segment of students. You have to be a resident of Hawaii, submit the FAFSA, demonstrate financial need, and be enrolled at least half-time in one of schools in the University of Hawaii system.

Student Incentive Grant

Also known as the Leveraging Educational Assistance Program (LEAP), the Student Incentive Grant is available to students eligible for the Pell Grant. You must be a resident of Hawaii and have completed your FAFSA.

Work-study options

Work-study options are available for students who demonstrate financial hardship. If your FAFSA report tells you that you’re eligible for a work-study program, it’s worth considering.

You work part-time alongside your studies, and students often get to work in a job that’s related to their subject. The jobs pay at least the minimum wage agreed to by federal aid and the employer.

Find out your eligibility and how to apply, but first, you need to complete a FAFSA.

What student loan programs does Hawaii have?

Hawaii does not have any separate state-run student loan programs. Instead, students in Hawaii have access to federal loans and to private loans.

Federal student loans in Hawaii

Prospective Hawaii students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA). You can find out more here. 

Private co-signed student loans in Hawaii

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans in Hawaii

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

What schools does Funding U lend to in Hawaii?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Hawaii that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6-year graduation rate. 

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Brigham Young University-HawaiiNoNoYesYes6362
Chaminade University of HonoluluNoNoYesYes5977
Hawaii Pacific UniversityNoNoNoNo4765
Pacific Rim Christian UniversityNoNoNoNo2986
University of Hawaii at HiloNoNoNoNo4168
University of Hawaii at ManoaNoNoYesYes5979
University of Hawaii-West OahuNoNoNoNo3265

Don’t see the school you want to apply to on the list? Begin the application process, and we’ll check if it’s eligible. Find out more about how to determine eligibility here. 

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