Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) and Honokaa High School today kicked off their new partnership that gives Honokaa students access to HPU's new, virtual college-credit program. The 17 Honokaa students who are enrolled in the program will connect with HPU professors using video technology that allows for real-time learning.
"This innovative partnership with Hawaii Pacific University helps us equip students for success at the next level, empower them to explore their potential, and inspire them to reach their aspirations," said Suzanne Mulcahy, Hawaii State Department of Education. "Together, as a community, we can meet and exceed our goal to successfully guide students to become leaders for Hawai'i's future."
"We are grateful to HPU for this partnership as it gives our students direct access to a post-secondary education trajectory," said Rachelle Matsumura, principal of Honokaa High & Intermediate School. "Programs like this encourage our students to strive for their highest potential and provides a valuable head start on earning college credits that will potentially save them time and money."
This program is the first of its kind for the private university, which provides real-time, distance learning for high school students. To increase access and opportunities for Honokaa students, HPU tuition has been waived so the high school students may earn college credits and experience the university's rich curriculum.
"HPU is deeply committed to making higher education increasingly cost-efficient, attainable, and expedient for the students in our local communities," said John Gotanda, HPU president. "We recognize an opportunity to not only provide our keiki o ka aina with their best chance to attain their desired goals, but also attract and cultivate high achievers within our islands who will one day be leaders of our community making a profound impact on Hawai'i and beyond."
Dual Credit allows Hawaii DOE high school students to take classes that satisfy requirements for both a Hawaii high school diploma and a University degree.
The Dual Credit program is also made possible through generous support from Carol Mon Lee, a retired lawyer and educator. Ms. Lee's investment makes higher education more attainable for local students. She noted, "President Gotanda's vision for educating the youth of Hawaii, especially those in our public schools, is not just inspiring but vital to our state."
Ms. Lee currently volunteers as executive-vice president and chief operating officer of ThinkTech Hawaii, a non-profit media company. She also sits on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Governors, UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco.
The partnership highlights HPU's expertise as the state leader in online education and expands its services to support public high school students. The university has been providing online education for deployed students in the military and have provided dual-credit programs with high schools around the state. In 2016, HPU became the first school in Hawaii to be approved by a state agency to participate in NC-SARA, a national authorization program to reciprocate online education across state lines.