Early College is a partnership between the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the University of Hawai‘i (UH) System that allows high school students to take “sheltered” college classes with their high school peers. Currently, these classes are offered in a variety of modalities – face-to-face on the high school campus, online (synchronous or asynchronous), or hybrid. Students who successfully complete classes at the 100-level and above receive both high school and college credit (dual credit).
Early College programming varies by high school. Some high schools and their UH campus partners may offer Early College classes as part of a pathway that leads to a college certificate or associate’s degree; other high schools may just offer one Early College class per semester to students in a specific career academy.
Thanks in large part to funding provided by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, Early College classes are free of charge to participating HIDOE students.
High schools across the state of Hawai‘i – in collaboration with all 10 UH campuses – offer Early College classes. Early College is the state’s most popular dual credit program, with 52 public high schools offering Early College classes during the 2021-22 school year.
The program has dramatically expanded across the state since its inception. Since Fall 2012, more than 17,000 public high school students have participated in the Early College program. In addition, the number of public high school graduates participating in dual credit programs and earning 6 or more college credits prior to their high school graduation has steadily increased.
Additional data related to the number of students participating in the Early College program, the number of public high schools offering Early College classes, and the number of Early College classes provided by UH campuses is available here.
Local and national research has found strong correlations between participation in dual credit programs such as Early College and:
Research has found particularly strong benefits for participation in dual credit programs for students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education, including economically disadvantaged, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and first generation college students. Data related to dual credit participation and college enrollment, first to second year college persistence, and college degree completion of all students (with specific data disaggregations for economically disadvantaged and Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander students) is available here.
To learn more about the benefits of the Early College program, check out testimonials from:
Additional information is available in the March 2023 Early College Update document.
If you are a student interested in learning more about what Early College opportunities are available at your high school, please talk to your high school counselor.
Hawai‘i Community College – Hilo
Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui
Honolulu Community College
Kapi‘olani Community College
Kaua‘i Community College
Kō Education Center (associated with Hawai‘i Community College)
Leeward Community College
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Outreach College
University of Hawai‘i Maui College
University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu
Windward Community College