HomeCampusSen. Hirono secures $3.2M in federal funding for Native Hawaiian serving schools

Sen. Hirono secures $3.2M in federal funding for Native Hawaiian serving schools

University of Hawaii, Hilo photo

Senator Mazie Hirono announced Wednesday that $3.2 million in federal funding is going to Hawaiian colleges serving Hawaii’s Native Hawaiian population, Maui Now reports. 

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Education’s Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions program, University of Hawai’i News reports. 

Five schools are eligible for funding, including University of Hawai’i Hilo, University of Hawai’i Maui College, Honolulu Community College, Kapiʻolani Community College and Windward Community College, according to the University of Hawai’i News. 

Half-a-million dollars will go towards internal improvements, including research programs and financial literacy training, Maui Now reports. An additional $450,000 will go to external improvements including a “new student intake process that includes a needs assessment to address barriers for students.” 

“At a time when colleges and students are preparing for a new school year during a pandemic, this funding provides schools with resources to support Native Hawaiian students as they pursue their degrees,” Hirono said, according to Maui Now. 

Hirono, the first Asian American woman elected to the Senate and the first U.S. senator born in Japan, recently urged for PPE coverage for voters and poll workers in the upcoming November election, Maui Now reports. 

While the high school graduation rates for Native Hawaiians is close to the state average (92.6% and 94.4% respectively), the numbers show a stark contrast when it comes to post-secondary degrees, according to Open Performance Hawaii, the State of Hawaii’s public information dashboard. 

In 2013, only 16% of Hawaii’s Native Hawaiians had a post-secondary degree, compared to the state average of 44.9%. 

According to national statistics in 2017, compiled by the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “23.3 percent of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders had a bachelor’s degree or higher in comparison to 35.8 percent of whites. 6.9 percent of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders have obtained graduate degrees in comparison to 13.8 percent of whites.” 

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