A new stipend program will assist eligible students enrolled in Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs across three University of Hawaiʻi four-year campuses (UH Mānoa, UH West Oʻahu, UH Hilo) and four UH Community Colleges (Hawaiʻi CC, Honolulu CC, Kauaʻi CC, UH Maui College). The Hawaiʻi Early Childhood Educator Tuition Stipend Program was created by the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) and State of Hawaiʻi Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL), in partnership with the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation.
The Graduate ECE Programs in the COE Department of Curriculum Studies are coordinating the systemwide stipend application process, including administering awards and collecting data on the workforce related to the stipends, in collaboration with ECE preparation program faculty on seven UH campuses. Assistant Specialist and Graduate ECE Programs Director Robyn Chun; Project Manager LaurieAnn Takeno; and Graduate ECE Programs Coordinator Jaime Lum will oversee the stipend program application process.
“This is one of many early childhood education workforce development partnerships that the college is engaged in with the EOEL,” Chun said. “This is part of a larger initiative to develop comprehensive systems of workforce financial support for early childhood educators who are frequently amongst the lower paid wage earners and, as a result, find it difficult to pursue an education.”
Eligible students must be enrolled in ECE generalist certificates, degrees or license programs on one of seven UH system campuses; maintain a C or better in coursework; and work in a position in the early learning system as described in HRS §302L-2 for two years after matriculation.
The stipend application is now open. Deadlines:
- Summer 2023 tuition–application due April 15, 2023
- Fall 2023 tuition–application due July 15, 2023
- Spring 2024 tuition–application due December 1, 2023
- Summer 2024 tuition–application due April 15, 2024
Funding the future of ECE
Unlike other education students, ECE majors do not have a sustained source of publicly funded tuition stipends. This urged the Graduate ECE Programs to develop a UH System website with content to assist students and practitioners in the ECE workforce. The content and support tools will also be used by students and faculty who are part of the Hawaiʻi Early Childhood Educator Excellence and Equity Project and U.S. Preschool Development Grant.
- Related UH News story: UH receives $1.3M to support early childhood workforce in Hawaiʻi, July 4, 2021
In the 2023 legislative session, the EOEL budget in the governor’s budget bills stated $660,000 could potentially be allocated to funding students enrolled in ECE preparation programs systemwide. This funding is vital to addressing the early learning workforce crisis in all sectors, including post-COVID workforce child care settings, Native Hawaiian culture-based and Hawaiian Language Medium early learning programs, and in Public Pre-K expansion proposed in Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke’s Ready Keiki initiative.
“The funding to sustain the Hawaiʻi ECE Stipend Program is not guaranteed,” Chun concluded. “We need to advocate to legislators for this part of the governor’s budget to be funded so that there will be tuition stipend equity for those working in the beginning of the education continuum.”