Early College

What is Early College?

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.

In February 2024, the HIDOE and UH jointly released the Early College Strategic Directions, which sets a shared vision for Hawaiʻi’s Early College program.  The Early College Strategic Directions will guide future practices and priorities in Hawaiʻi’s Early College program.

Thanks in large part to funding provided by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, Early College classes are free of charge to participating HIDOE students.

Where are Early College classes offered?

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 54 public high schools offering Early College classes during the 2022-23 school year.

The program has dramatically expanded across the state since its inception. Since Fall 2012, more than 22,000 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 is available 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.  Data related to state-level and school-level participation rates in the Early College program are available in the Statewide Early College Participation dashboard.

What are some of the positive outcomes associated with Early College participation?

Local and national research has found strong correlations between participation in dual credit programs such as Early College and:

  • Increased educational aspirations;
  • Higher high school GPAs;
  • Increased college enrollment;
  • Higher number of college credits accumulated within one year of high school graduation;
  • Increased first to second year college persistence,
  • Increased degree attainment; and
  • Decreased college English & math remediation rates.

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.  Additional data is available 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).

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.

UH Campus Early College Contacts

Hawai‘i Community College – Hilo

Glenn-Dee Kuwaye

(808) 934-2720



Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui

Pearla Haalilio

(808) 969-8816



Honolulu Community College

Pearl Wu

(808) 847-9805



Kapi‘olani Community College

Sheldon Tawata

(808) 734-9842



Kaua‘i Community College

Frankie Harriss

(808) 245-8229



Kō Education Center (associated with Hawai‘i Community College)

Glenn-Dee Kuwaye

(808) 934-2720



Leeward Community College

Brandon Carlos

(808) 455-0202



University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Michael Bitter

(808) 932-7095



University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Outreach College

Jenna Komatsu

(808) 956-2729



University of Hawai‘i Maui College

Kulamanu Ishihara 

(808) 984-3272



University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu

Garry Roy

(808) 689-2366



Windward Community College

Kehau Iwashita

(808) 235-7465


Dual Credit