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 and the University of Hawai‘i System 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, 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

Eligibility Requirements

Any public high school and charter school student is considered to be eligible if they meet campus admissions requirements, attend a public 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 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.


To apply for a GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship, please mark “Economically Disadvantaged” under the “Qualifies As” field AND select “GEAR UP Scholarship” under the “Source of Funding” field on the dual credit application for the relevant term. Your dual credit application form must be submitted online prior to the scholarship deadline for the semester.

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 and dual 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.

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 Hawaiʽi at 956-3879, or from the neighbor islands at 1-866-808-4327.

GEAR UP Running Start Scholarship Deadlines

Summer 2021 Term: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Fall 2021 Term: Friday, April 23, 2021
Spring 2022 Term: Friday, October 22, 2021
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 – 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

Pua Larson

(808) 245-8258


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

Joseph Mareko

(808) 689-2918


Windward Community College

Cyndy Masatsugu

(808) 235-7458