There are two basic kinds of Hawaiians: people who were born in Hawaii or have established residence in Hawaii, and native Hawaiians. Native Hawaiians are people whose ancestry traces back to indigenous people of Hawaii, thought to have arrived from Asia or the Fiji islands hundreds or thousands of years ago.
If you’re a Hawaiian student looking for a scholarship, you first have to determine if you’re trying to get a native Hawaiian scholarship or a college funding offer for citizens of Hawaii. You may be eligible for both.
Native Hawaiian Scholarships
Establishing Hawaiian ancestry is becoming a serious business. As pride in the Hawaiian community deepens and the science of genetics becomes affordable, the ability to establish yourself as a native Hawaiian is easier than ever. In the case of scholarship money for native Hawaiians, establishing ancestry is an important first step to earning money for college.
The first thing native Hawaiian students need to do to be eligible for native Hawaiian scholarship funds is to register with the Kamehameha Schools’ Ho’oulu Hawaiian Data Center, known as the HHDC to save time. This group is set up to verify people’s Hawaiian ancestry for many purposes, one ofwhich is to establish if a student deserves native Hawaiian financial aid funding. The HHDC also runs the Ho`oulu Hawaiian Data Center that studies and tracks the native Hawaiian population. Contact this organization at their website.
Once a student has established native Hawaiian ancestry, they have many scholarship offers to choose from. Native heritage and advocacy groups have been established over the years to help native Hawaiians improve themselves with a college education, hoping that a smarter native population will lead to better living and working conditions for Hawaiian natives.
Here are two scholarships aimed at native Hawaiian peoples.
The Ke Ali’i Pauahi Foundation Scholarships
The Ke Ali’i Pauahi Foundation scholarships are run by the nonprofit KAP corporation in order to develop new sources of income for people of Hawaiian ancestry. The Ke Ali’i Pauahi Foundation uses donor funds to hand out scholarships for native Hawaiians. These scholarship awards are based on a student’s academic merit, and these awards are also open to Hawaiian citizens who may not have full Hawaiian ancestry. The organization points out they prefer to reward native Hawaiians, though a standout application from a non-native Hawaiian will be considered. These awards are given to students enrolled in any two or four-year post-high school degree program who have submitted a FAFSA form. Awards depend on the amount of annual donations and financial need.
Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program
The Native Hawaiian Health scholarship program is one of the more prestigious scholarship offers made to native Hawaiians. This program offers full ride scholarships to native Hawaiians who plant o major in the medical field. Native Hawaiians or those of native descent who will earn a degree in one of the following fields can apply for a Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship that will pay all tuition and fees as long as the student maintains acceptable academics:
Clinical Psychologist, Dentist, Dental Hygienist, Physician, Family Practitioner, General Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Pediatrics, Physician, Osteopathic, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Opthamologist, Nursing, Registered Nurse, Nurse Midwife, Public Health Nurse, Masters in Public Health, Pharmacy, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapy, and General Psychology
These scholarships also pay a monthly stipend of around $500 for living expenses and will work with your school’s financial aid office to pay for lab fees, textbooks, and other essentials. The trade-off for this massive scholarship is an obligation to serve at least one year in employment in a medically underserved area within the State of Hawaii within two years of graduating. These scholarships are federally-funded, so this year of service is a requirement of the foundation. Students will not choose their location of service, though it will be within the borders of the state of Hawaii.
Scholarships for Hawaiian Citizens
If you aren’t a native Hawaiian or you can’t establish your native Hawaiian ancestry to earn a native scholarship, you can still earn scholarship funds targeted at students who are citizens of Hawaii.
Requirements for these scholarships vary from award to award, but academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, volunteer activities, and other things to make a scholarship application stand out are recommended to make you more likely to earn a scholarship for a Hawaiian citizen.
These two scholarships for Hawaiian citizens are good examples of the kinds of offers available to Hawaiian students looking for college money.
Eleanor Meader Putnam Memorial Scholarship
This $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to one student entering Hawaii Pacific University for full-time undergraduate or graduate study. Applicants do not have to be native Hawaiians, but preference is given to citizens and residents of Hawaii. The Eleanor Meader Putnam committee rewards academic excellence above all else, and applicants with a GPA below 3.25 will not be considered. The amount of the award may increase due to financial need or due to earning the award during your last two semesters at Hawaii Pacific University, in deference to higher expenses at the end of a college career. This award is non-renewable after a student wins twice.
Herman A. Berliner Endowed Scholarship
This scholarship to Hofstra University is made in honor of Herman A. Berliner, a distinguished graduate of Hosftra who was born in Hawaii. This scholarship is good for as much as $2,500 for citizens of Hawaii pursuing an undergraduate degree at Hofstra University. Award recipients are chosen based on students academic achievement and financial need, and preference is given to native Hawaiian students though non-natives are often chosen as well. This award is renewable for up to four years provided the award recipient maintains a 3.5 GPA.
Scholarships for Hawaiians are easy to find if you know where to look. If you are a Hawaiian citizen, talk to your guidance counselor for more information on Hawaiian scholarship opportunities in your area.
by Will Roby