Tapping Into Money for School

Resource guide provides tools for accessing financial aid.
By Jennifer Smith

Finding the funds for school is often a difficult hurdle to overcome. However, Molokai students of all ages have an abundance of options to assist them in reaching their academic goals. Several organizations and individuals are offering funding to give Friendly Isle students a foot up in their college careers.

Whether you are a high school, undergraduate, or graduate student, the Educational Opportunity Center located at Maui Community College can help students access the necessary resources to obtain financial aid.

Financial Aid Advisor Sybil Lopez helps students of all ages through the sometimes complicated process of finding scholarships and grants, and filling out applications. Lopez said there is a lot of funding out there, and encourages students to visit her office. She also highly recommends students to look at a school’s website for available scholarships.

Some of the local organizations offering scholarships for students include Molokai Credit Union, Lions Club, Josh Jerman Realtor, and the Molokai Filipino Community Council.

The following are just a few of the resources available to current and future students:

Molokai Health Foundation/Molokai General Hospital Scholarship
Scholarships are available to students pursuing careers in health care and/or human services fields. Applications are available at Molokai General Hospital’s Administration Office and Maui Community College’s Education Center. Application Deadline: Postmarked by March 31. For more information contact: Punahele Alcon at (808) 553-3123.

The Molokai Dispatch Excellence in Writing and Media Scholarship
The local newspaper wants to empower at least one local high-school student through the recognition and appreciation of their writing and/or visual art skills.
The Dispatch and the Friends of MHIS will present a Molokai High School student with a scholarship of at least $500 for excellence in the fields of journalism, creative writing, and/or visual arts.

The recipient will be asked for two submissions per month for publication in the Molokai Dispatch. The submission can be any combination of fiction, non-fiction, or photography pertinent to the Molokai community, contemporary youth culture, or Hawaiian culture.

Deadline is April 1. Download a scholarship form at www.TheMolokaiDispatch.com/scholarship.pdf or pick one up at the Molokai Dispatch, 2 Kamoi St. Ste 4, Kaunakakai.

Interested donors can make a check out to Friends of MHIS for “Writing & Media Scholarship.” Donations can be sent to Friends of MHIS c/o The Molokai Dispatch, P.O. Box 482219, Kaunakakai, HI 96748. All donations are tax deductible and 100% of collected funds will go toward the student scholarship.

Native Hawaiian Scholarships
Some of the current native Hawaiian scholarships include Kamehameha Schools scholarships, beginning at $1,500. The application deadline is April 21. Prince Kuhio scholarships, deadline for applications is April 1. Liko Aie scholarships, deadline for applications is June 1.

Know Your Forms
Filling out a FAFSA

Knowing how to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can make the difference in most people’s ability to receive funding for school. The form helps institutions, both federal and non-federal determine how much financial aid a student qualifies for.

Once the FAFSA is completed and submitted the student receives a Student Aid Report, which most institutions require to award funding.

The deadline for FAFSA applications at MCC is April1.

For more information on the FAFSA visit www.fafsa.ed.gov.

For more information, or for assistance seeking financial aid please call Sybil Lopez at 553-4490, ext. 24, or email her at lopezs@hawaii.edu.

Lopez is available at the community college Mon., Wed., Fri. 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and Tues. and Thurs. 8-11 a.m. She is available at Molokai High School Tues. and Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

A FAFSA Weekend

Accounting students Cherisse Irons and Fa`apo Unutoa crunch numbers with Gussie Dudoit during the FAFSA and Tax workshop.

The first weekend in March students from the marketing, accounting and business ethics fields at Chaminade University provided tax and FAFSA assistance to Molokai residents.

“The most important thing is to let them know they can get money,” Chaminade accounting student Peter Hsu said. This is the second year Hsu has participated in a service learning project to provide tax and FAFSA assistance. “We realized a lot of students want to go to college, but don’t have the money.”

Chaminade professor Peggy Friedman said the program benefits her students almost as much as the families they are assisting. She said the students gain hands on experience, while helping families to take some of the sting out of filling out the forms.

This is the first year Chaminade partnered with Maui Community College (MCC) on Molokai. Friedman said she felt as though the visit was a success and she hopes to return with students next year.

Friedman made a point to thank MCC representative and Chaminade graduate Kelly Tachibana for all of her hard work. “Without Kelley it would have been very difficult, she spent a lot of time making this happen.”

Tachibana said the services were meant to provide a “one stop shop kind of deal.” She said whether people are planning to stay on Molokai or have intentions to go off island, “there is so much federal financial aid out there for students.”

Students who were unable to make it to the FAFSA workshop can call Sybil Lopez at 553-4490, ext. 24 to make an appointment, or email her at lopezs@hawaii.edu.

Mahalo to Gear Up, Aloha United Way, Chaminade University, and Maui Community College for providing funding for the event.


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