Although community colleges offer a low-cost alternative to higher education options, the students we serve often have limited financial means. We know from national research and longitudinal studies that students who apply for and receive financial aid—in the form of grants, loans or work-study—are more likely to persist from one semester to another. We also know that our students are under utilizing financial aid. A 2003-2004 analysis of UHCC student participation in financial aid programs indicated that less than 18% of all UHCC students received some form of financial aid compared to a national average of 46.8%.
Increasing the number of financial aid participants has become a vital strategic component in increasing retention and persistent rates of all students, especially Native Hawaiian students. With increased financial support from UH administrators and the state legislature, community colleges were able to hire more staff to administer financial aid, and build more awareness of the availability of financial aid. Campuses also used other strategies in improving the number of students applying for, and receiving financial aid.
Financial aid goals include