A University of Hawaiʻi scholarship to assist unemployed or furloughed workers has meant a life-changing difference to a former commuter airline pilot and a former Four Seasons Resorts employee. They are among more than 300 recipients of Kūlia Scholarships since they were first made available through the UH Community Colleges in fall 2020 to support Hawaiʻi residents whose employment was impacted by COVID-19.
A limited number of $500 Kūlia Scholarships for tuition and fees are now available for fall 2021. The deadline to apply is August 8, 2021.
To be eligible, Kūlia Scholarship applicants must:
- Be a resident of Hawaiʻi.
- Have been furloughed or laid off from a job in Hawaiʻi because of COVID-19 impacts (since March 2020) and have documentation. Priority will be given to those who lost full-time employment.
- Have graduated from high school prior to 2020.
- Be admitted and enrolled as a UH Community College student for fall 2021. Priority will be given to those who are pursuing their first degree or industry-recognized certificate. Apply to any UH Community College here.
- Be new to the UH System or last attended a UH System campus prior to 2020.
Gain confidence, motivation
27-year-old Kauaʻi resident David Ochoco used to fly commuter airplanes for five years before he was laid off due to COVID-19. He enrolled in classes at Kauaʻi Community College and is now on a path to continue his educational journey with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.
“To be able to go back to school and do something, really helped in terms of motivation,” Ochoco said. “And with the help of the Kūlia Scholarship, it kind of helped get me back on my feet.”
Oʻahu resident Lindsey Brown worked in the tourism industry for 10 years, starting at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaiʻi Island and moving to catering and sales at the Four Seasons Resort Oʻahu at Ko Olina, before losing her job due to the pandemic.
Brown, 32, said the Kūlia Scholarship helped her to turn a negative into a positive. She is currently taking classes at Kapiʻolani Community College and is applying to the radiologic technology program.
“It was kind of nerve racking, but having the extra boost of motivation and the extra little bit of help, to pay for the classes and help financially, was also wonderful,” Brown said. “I think that this scholarship is certainly a great opportunity for people to take what life hands you and turn it around and turn it into something good.”
Ochoco added, “The Kūlia Scholarship has been a big help. Just knowing that someone is there to support you, with all the negativity in the world, knowing that someone in the community is there to help you get to your goals is really beneficial.”