Kamehameha's tuition aid will further educational mission
Kamehameha Schools will give scholarships to students who attend other private schools.
A plan to offer scholarships for students to attend private schools on Oahu and three neighbor islands expands Kamehameha Schools' educational commitment beyond its three campuses.
The strategy will open classrooms to more children than Kamehameha can accommodate at its own facilities, diversify student populations at 61 participating schools and broaden options for learning. In addition, it will further the trust's goal of educating Hawaiian children.
Kamehameha currently offers tuition aid to more than 1,000 3- and 4 year-olds to attend 100 preschools statewide, including 30 it operates. It has received court permission to expand scholarships to kindergarten students beginning the next school year at accredited private schools.
Many of the schools are faith-based, such as Sacred Hearts, Hongwanji Mission, St. Andrew's Priory and Our Redeemer Lutheran. Others include Iolani, Mid-Pacific, Punahou and Hanahauoli.
In some instances, scholarships would cover almost all of tuition costs, but the amount of aid will depend on need, parents' ability to pay and contributions from schools.
Children who receive scholarships - 240 in each year of a three-year pilot program - also could be given financial help until graduation, assuring stability through the course of their education.
Kamehameha expects to spend $1.2 million a year for the pilot program and a total of $47 million for the full 15 years of awarding assistance to as many as 720 students.
The schools' three campuses on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island have enrollment of about 6,700, but only one in eight applicants can be accepted. Scholarships of up to $6,000 annually will help parents pay for tuition at other independent schools, which can be prohibitively expensive.
Private schools should welcome the aid since the program could add a measure of racial and economic variety to their student populations and expose children to a spectrum of experiences.
Kamehameha Schools, often criticized for inadequacies in reaching Hawaiian children, has done much to include more students in recent years. Besides the preschool program, it provides funds for charter schools that emphasize Hawaiian learning and several public school efforts. It clearly is on a path to widened its scope.