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U H and Kamehameha Schools representatives with a check
Maenette Benham, UH Mānoa Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge dean; Joy Kono, Kamehameha Schools senior director for education support services; Judy Oliveira, UH West Oʻahu vice chancellor for student affairs; Noeau Machado, UH Mānoa sophomore; Kahiau Machado, UH Mānoa sophomore; Emma Klein, UH Mānoa freshman; Holo Hoʻopai, UH Hilo special assistant to the chancellor; Brian Bissen, UH Mānoa sophomore; David Lassner, UH president; Don Straney, UH Hilo chancellor

Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaiʻi have launched Makalapua Naʻauao, a unique four-year pilot scholarship program that aims to increase the four-year graduation rate of Native Hawaiian students by providing necessary funding as well as intensive student support services.

“The Makalapua Naʻauao financial aid pilot program is an innovative, life-changing opportunity for our ʻōpio to successfully complete their college education,” said Jack Wong, Kamehameha Schools CEO. “This key partnership exemplifies and personifies what can happen when meaningful collaboration happens between two organizations who are committed to the success of learners throughout Hawaiʻi.”

Kamehameha presented UH with a $1.18 million check in July 2016, the first of four donations, to fund the Makalapua Naʻauao.

“This generous gift is a great example of Kamehameha Schools support of our shared commitment to advancing Native Hawaiian student success,” said UH President David Lassner. “The pilot project we are launching emerged from our institutional Hui Hoʻopili ʻĀina partnership and will provide financial aid and student support services to help participating students on a path to graduate in four years.”

Along with improving Native Hawaiian student success, the Hui Hoʻopili ʻĀina partnership between the two educational institutions also aims to revitalize Hawaiian knowledge and language and create a sustainable Hawaiʻi.

Helping students with a strong start and continued support

In the first of year of the Makalapua Naʻauao program, four participating UH campuses—Mānoa, Hilo, Maui College and West Oʻahu—will accept a cohort of up to 100 Native Hawaiian students who will be full-time sophomores in the 2016–2017 academic year. Each student will be offered a scholarship of varying amounts for a maximum of four years or upon earning a bachelor’s degree. In addition, UH Hilo and UH Mānoa will accept up to 50 freshman students from the 2016 graduating class of Kamehameha Schools’ Kapālama, Keaʻau, or Pukalani campuses.

The four-year pilot will provide Makalapua Naʻauao students with support services including peer mentoring, tutoring, culturally rich learning opportunities, networking with faculty and researchers and career exploration and planning. Feedback and data will be used to reassess student support and funding services. Both organizations will also use the data to scale system improvements that impact the larger Native Hawaiian student population matriculating through the UH system.

In addition, the Makalapua Naʻauao program offers UH and Kamehameha an opportunity to critically look at their existing systems and processes to identify potential areas of improvement in promoting Native Hawaiian student success from high school to post-secondary education.

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