Scholarships lower the cost of education

Illustration by Patrick Hascall

There are many scholarships available for students seeking financial assistance.

Grants and scholarships award students debt-free funds to help pay college fees and tuition.

The 2015-2016 Common Scholarship Application is due by March 2.

Students can file a single online form through the UH system, which can be used for a variety of available scholarships, based on a student’s eligibility.

The scholarship application can be found at

The application is a short questionnaire with two required essay questions. One is a personal statement and the other is a community service essay.

The rest of the essay questions are optional if you wish to apply for that particular scholarship.

The form requires a minimum of two recommenders’ email addresses so they can be contacted for a recommendation letter.

Recommenders could be previous or current teachers, a supervisor or manager from work, or a group leader from a religious or community activity. Be sure to notify them before submitting their emails. The application won’t be valid until the recommendation letters are received.

“Over a thousand students were awarded financial aid in 2014-2015, but only 100 students submitted scholarship applications,” said Steven Chigawa, WCC’s financial aid officer.

“It takes only 45 minutes to fill out one form and apply online.”

There are many scholarships available for Native Hawaiians, women and anybody seeking financial assistance. Several scholarships are intended specifically for WCC students, including the Kaneohe Business Group scholarship, which awards over twenty $1,000 scholarships to WCC students each year from Windward Ho’olaule’a proceeds.

A similar online program that uses an electronic form to file is the Hawai’i Community Foundation, which has over $4 million available for scholarships. The website is located at

Visit WCC’s financial aid webpage for additional information and a downloadable PDF guide with tips and suggestions when filing.

Any further questions can be answered at the financial aid office in Hale Alaka‘i, Room 107.

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

by Charissa Wittig, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter