Hawaiian scholarship program to get $4.4 million
By Jennifer Hiller
Advertiser Education Writer
A scholarship program for Native Hawaiians will receive $4.4 million in federal money during the next four years, allowing it to reach more undergraduate and post-graduate students across the nation.
For more information about the Native Hawaiian Leadership Project, visit www.cba.hawaii.edu/asiapac/nhlp.asp or call 956-7258.
It has sent students to the University of Hawai'i, Hawai'i Pacific University, Chaminade University and all the community colleges in Hawai'i, as well as to Mainland schools such as Dartmouth, Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California.
The project finances 60 students each year, but that should increase to about 75 students a year, said Manu Ka'iama, an instructor in accounting at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa and the principal investigator and director of the Native Hawaiian Leadership Project.
"Native Hawaiians are so under-represented in all the fields that require Ph.D.s or master's degrees," Ka'iama said. "We encourage students to continue into graduate school."
The NHLP is financed by the U.S. Department of Education, Native Hawaiian Higher Education Act. The scholarships assist students who have demonstrated academic promise, financial need and community service.
Keawe Kaholokua, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, said he would have pursued a doctoral degree even without the scholarship, but would likely have had to work several jobs to do so.
"This was my goal," Kaholokua said. "If I had to work two or three jobs, I would have done it. But it helps tremendously. It takes a lot of the burden off financially by not having to work as much while going to school."
Students who receive scholarships are required to do volunteer work based on the amount of money they receive. Kaholokua has given public speeches, served as a docent at Bishop Museum and worked on a diabetes program at the Native Hawaiian Health Organization.
Kawena Suganuma, a first-year law school student who received an accounting degree at Manoa, had to complete 40 hours of volunteer work each semester as an undergraduate recipient of the scholarship.
She did everything from helping at beach cleanups to administrative work at the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to fulfill the requirement.
Now she will continue in the scholarship program as she starts law school. "It's very generous," she said. "It pays for all of my tuition every year."
The project also has financed education-related travel for Native Hawaiian teachers, community workshops on leadership and workshops for educators and counselors. Junior faculty members can receive travel expenses to present their scholarly research at conferences.
Graduate students can work on campus as teaching assistants, and the scholarship program will pay their salary if their work benefits the community.
"We employ them," Ka'iama said. "They work for a professor, but we pay for it."
College financial aid offices around the country have information about the program. Officials also work with Kamehameha Schools to get the word out, Ka'iama said.
Reach Jennifer Hiller at 525-8084 or email@example.com