Running Start

What is Running Start?

Running Start is a program that allows “eligible” high school students to take a college course at a University of Hawai‘i system campus as part of their high school coursework.

The unique partnership between the Hawaii State Department of Education and the University of Hawai‘i System allows public and charter high school students to attend college classes during the fall, spring, and summer while earning both high school and college credits.

Currently nine UH campuses participate in the Running Start program:

  • University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
  • University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu
  • Hawaiʻi Community College (includes Hilo, Kō Education Center, and Palamanui campuses)
  • Honolulu Community College
  • Kapiʻolani Community College
  • Kauaʻi Community College
  • Leeward Community College
  • University of Hawaiʻi Maui College
  • Windward Community College

Running Start Scholarship Details

logo-gear-upGEAR UP supports low-income students’ participation in the Running Start dual credit program by providing support for tuition and books. GEAR UP Hawai‘i offers Running Start Scholarships to Hawai‘i public high school students who are economically disadvantaged (defined as receiving free lunch, reduced lunch, or the equivalent for schools not participating in the National School Lunch Program, or students participating in the Supplemental Assistance for Needy Families – SNAP – or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF – program).
The scholarship is used for tuition/fees and required textbooks for one 3 or 4 credit class. (*Note: the scholarship is only for one UH session and may be used for 4 credits only if the course is designated as a 4 credit class or if there is a one-credit lab that is taken concurrently.) The award is conditional upon verification of socioeconomic status by the Hawaii State Department of Education, as well as admission to the University of Hawai‘i campus you are planning to attend. Please note that funding is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents; international students are not eligible for scholarship funding. Priority awards are given to students who are economically disadvantaged and have received no prior Running Start Scholarship funding from GEAR UP.

Eligibility Requirements

Any public high school and charter school student considered to be eligible and meets campus admissions requirements within the state of Hawaiʻi who: is under the age of 21 as of September 1st of the school year in which the college course is taken.

Fulfills and complies with college campus requirements such as:

  • Admission forms
  • Meeting admission requirements
  • Satisfactory scores on appropriate Math and English placement tests or equivalent satisfactory scores using  alternative measures of placement
  • TB and MMR immunization requirements
  • Payment of college tuition and fees
  • Maintenance of acceptable academic standing

Running Start FAQs

Eligibility Questions

Q: Can a home schooled student participate in the Running Start dual credit program?

Home schooled students may participate in a dual credit program. We encourage all home schooled students to check with the specific University of Hawaiʽi campus for their admission policies and eligibility requirements, as they differ at every campus.

Q: Can a private school student participate in the Running Start dual credit program?

Running Start is mandated by the State of Hawaiʽi and is a partnership between the Hawaii State Department of Education, University of Hawaiʽi system, and GEAR UP. Students from private schools can achieve the same results as Running Start by enrolling in Early Admit Program if their high school principal is willing to award high school credit. For more information about “Early Admit” programs, please contact the University of Hawaiʽi campus you wish to enroll at.

Q: Can a second year senior participate in Running Start?


Q: May a student expelled from high school participate in Running Start?


Q: Are there any exceptions to Running Start eligibility?


College Registration & Enrollment Questions

Is there a registration deadline for Running Start?

Yes. Students should check with their high school counselor for any applicable deadlines.

Q: Can a student withdraw from a college class through Running Start without the permission of the high school?

Technically yes; however, in order to plan for high school graduation, the student should discuss their plan to withdraw with their high school counselor.

Accommodation Questions

Q: Is there a special off-campus pass for Running Start students?

Each high school will handle its own policy/procedure regarding Running Start students.

Q: How will students get to and from the college campus?

Students will have to make their own transportation arrangements to get to their college campus.

Q: Can 504 accommodations be made available to Running Start students at the colleges?

Yes, but students need to see a college counselor to arrange this.

Grades and Transcript Questions

Q: May a parent of a Running Start student request attendance/grade information from the college campus?

Only if the student gives written permission for the parent to do so, by completing a release form provided by the college. Otherwise, all student information is confidential.

Q: Will the college credit(s) earned through Running Start appear on the high school transcript?

No. The high school transcript will only reflect the high school equivalent of Running Start credits. For a record of college credits that a student has earned, the student must request transcripts directly from the college.

Q: Do all colleges and universities accept college credits earned through the Running Start program?

The courses numbered 100 and above are articulated to the University of Hawaiʽi at Manoa, the University of Hawaiʽi at Hilo, the University of Hawaiʽi-West Oʽahu, the University of Hawaiʽi Maui College, and all University of Hawaiʽi Community colleges. Acceptance of credits by other institutions outside of the University of Hawaiʽi System is based upon an evaluation of the student’s college transcripts.

For more information email or call GEAR UP at 956-3879, or from the neighbor islands at 1-866-808-4327.

GEAR UP Scholarship Deadlines

Summer 2020 Term:  Friday, May 8, 2020
Fall 2020 Term:  Friday, May 22, 2020
Apply Now for the Scholarship

University of Hawaii Information

UH Campus Running Start Counselor Contact Information

Hawai‘i Community College – Hilo

Glenn-Dee Kuwaye

(808) 934-2720


Hawai‘i Community College – Palamanui

Kawehi Nguyen

(808) 969-8822


Honolulu Community College

Jean Maslowski

(808) 845-9278


Kapi‘olani Community College

Sheldon Tawata

(808) 734-9842


Kaua‘i Community College

Clarice Kali

(808) 245-8313


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

Kalehua Kukahiko

(808) 775-8890


Leeward Community College

Syreeta Washington

(808) 455-0221


University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Keola Callo

(808) 932-7446


University of Hawai‘i Maui College

Linda Fujitani

(808) 984-3226


University of Hawai‘i-West O‘ahu

Katrina Abes

(808) 689-2689


Windward Community College

Ann Lemke

(808) 235-7448