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 campus as part of their high school coursework.

This partnership between the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the University of Hawai‘i System (UH) allows high school students attending public and charter schools to enroll in college classes during the fall, spring, and summer terms – with the opportunity to earn both high school and college credits.

Currently, nine University of Hawai‘i campuses participate in the Running Start program:

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

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa does not participate in the Running Start program.

Eligibility Requirements

Any public high school and charter school student is considered to be eligible if they meet campus admissions requirements, attend a public (HIDOE) or charter school within the state of Hawaiʻi, and are under the age of 21 as of September 1st of the school year in which the college course is taken.

Students must also fulfill and comply with college campus requirements such as:

  • Completing admissions forms/applications
  • Meeting admissions requirements and/or deadlines
  • Receiving satisfactory scores on appropriate Math and English placement tests or equivalent satisfactory scores using  alternative measures of placement
  • Providing evidence of TB and MMR immunization requirements (typically only required for home-schooled students)
  • Paying for college tuition and fees
  • Maintaining acceptable academic standing

GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship Details

logo-gear-upGEAR UP Hawai‘i supports low-income students’ participation in the Running Start program (available at 9 of the 10 University of Hawaiʻi campuses) by providing support for tuition, fees, and books. GEAR UP Hawai‘i offers GEAR UP 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 as participating in the Supplemental Assistance for Needy Families – SNAP – or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF – program).


GEAR UP Running Start Scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, and required textbooks for one 3 or 4 credit class. (Please note: The scholarship is valid only for one semester – the semester listed on the scholarship award letter and voucher.  The scholarship may only be used for 4 credits if the course is designated as a 4 credit class or if there is a one-credit lab that must be taken concurrently with a 3 credit class.) The award is conditional upon verification of socioeconomic status by the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, as well as admission to the University of Hawai‘i campus you are planning to attend. Please note that scholarship funding is only available 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 who have not received prior Running Start Scholarship funding from GEAR UP.

Please note that there have recently been modifications made to the dual credit application in the hopes that it will be easier for students to apply for a GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship.  Starting in the Summer 2022 term, students will only need to answer one question to apply for the scholarship.  Under the GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship portion of the dual credit application, eligible students should select “Yes” under the “I meet all of the(se) eligibility requirements and would like to be considered for a GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship” and submit their dual application form online prior to the scholarship deadline for the semester.

Students who apply for the GEAR UP Running Start scholarship will be contacted via email approximately 2-3 weeks after the scholarship deadline.  Students will be notified if they have been awarded or denied a scholarship along with further instructions and information.

Running Start FAQs

Eligibility Questions

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

Home-schooled students have the option to participate in college credit opportunities. We encourage all home-schooled students to check with the specific University of Hawaiʽi campus for their admission policies and eligibility requirements, as they may differ by campus.

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

Running Start is mandated by the State of Hawaiʽi and is a partnership between the Hawaiʽi State Department of Education and University of Hawaiʽi System. Students from private schools may be able to obtain similar results by enrolling in an 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 where you wish to enroll.

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 and the UH campus Running Start counselor/contact for information about 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.

Q: How do I know which classes I can take and which classes I am qualified/eligible for?

Please meet with your UH campus Running Start counselor for an advising session before completing your Dual Credit Application and before registration begins.  Your Running Start counselor can advise you on which classes you are eligible for and/or can advise you on how to qualify.

Q: How do I know which classes will apply to the degree/career I am interested in?

Please meet with your UH campus Running Start counselor for an advising session before completing your Dual Credit Application and before registration begins.  Your Running Start counselor can advise you on which classes align with your intended major and/or career pathway.

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, please contact the UH Campus (Running Start Counselor or Admissions Office) where you took your Running Start class for information about how to order your official transcripts.

GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship Deadlines

Summer 2023 Term: Friday, March 31, 2023
Fall 2023 Term: Friday, April 21, 2023 
Spring 2024 Term: Friday, October 20, 2023
Summer 2024 Term: Thursday, March 28, 2024
Fall 2024 Term: Friday, April 19, 2024
Apply Now for the Scholarship

University of Hawaiʽi Information

UH Campus Running Start Counselor Contact Information

Hawai‘i Community College – Hilo

Glenn-Dee Kuwaye

(808) 934-2720


Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui

Pearla Haalilio

(808) 969-8816


Honolulu Community College

Jean Maslowski

(808) 845-9278


Kapi‘olani Community College

Sheldon Tawata

(808) 734-9842


Kaua‘i Community College

Keanna Pavao

(808) 245-0127


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

Glenn-Dee Kuwaye

(808) 934-2720


Leeward Community College

Syreeta Washington

(808) 455-0221


University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Lisa Ann Amaral

(808) 932-7446


University of Hawai‘i Maui College

Linda Fujitani

(808) 984-3226


University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu

Kyra Takeuchi
(808) 689-2907


Windward Community College

Cyndy Masatsugu

(808) 235-7458

Dual Credit