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Students with lei at commencement
University programs encourage Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders to pursue higher education.

Two recent grants to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will help support student programs for Native Hawaiians and Asian and Pacific Islanders pursuing degrees at UH Hilo and other UH campuses statewide.

Nā Pua Noʻeau

Nā Pua Noʻeau and the University of Hawaiʻi have been awarded a grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to increase Native Hawaiian participation in higher education. The two-year award totaling $2,462,280 will provide a pathway for Native Hawaiian students to the various UH campuses statewide.

A Native Hawaiian Education Center at the University of Hawaiʻi, Nā Pua Noʻeau has offices and staff strategically located on six islands working closely with UH campus programs and the Hawaiian community. The program provides students an opportunity to access UH facilities and faculty and plays a significant role in creating opportunities for Hawaiian students to see higher education as a means to serve their family and their community. The pathways created in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are showing significant results, especially at UH Hilo where there are currently 92 Nā Pua Noʻeau students majoring in STEM fields.

Nā Pua Noʻeau centers are located at UH Hilo, UH Mānoa, Kauaʻi Community College, UH Maui College, Lānaʻi High and Elementary School, and the University of Hawaiʻi Center, West Hawaiʻi.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program

The U.S. Department of Education selected UH Hilo as one of 11 colleges and universities to receive part of a grant through the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Program for fiscal year 2011–2012.

UH Hilo’s award is $399,977 for the first year and is part of a five-year grant that runs through 2016 totaling $1,994,025. The funds will be used to develop and implement a comprehensive, culturally informed student support program to strengthen learning, engagement and success.

Key components of the program

  • A summer bridge program
  • Academic support services, such as advising, tutoring, peer mentoring and financial aid counseling
  • Activities that have been shown to have a high impact on student engagement, such as on-campus employment, first-year experience courses and service-learning
  • Research projects
  • Faculty development workshops

The project will also conduct and disseminate research into best practices that facilitate the success of Pacific Islanders in higher education.

Established in 2007, the AANAPISI program seeks to increase the capacity of higher education institutions to better serve disadvantaged college students. With about one of every three students being Asian American or Pacific Islander, UH Hilo was one of the first institutions nationwide to receive an AANAPISI grant when it initiated a similar project in 2008.

In 2010, the campus established the Pacific Islander Student Center to encourage and support the achievements on Pacific Islanders on campus and in the surrounding community.

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