Maui News

UH Offering Free Classes, Summer Advising & Scholarships to Hawaiʻi’s Class of 2021

April 5, 2021, 10:28 AM HST
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The “Next Steps to Your Future” program is being offered again to Hawaiʻi’s Class of 2021 public high school seniors. Photo Courtesy

The University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges and Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education are once again offering the “Next Steps to Your Future” program to support Hawaiʻi’s Class of 2021 public high school seniors.

Next Steps to Your Future will engage and guide graduating seniors in transitioning to their post-high school plans while connecting them to postsecondary education and training opportunities. Eligible students also will have an opportunity to take free summer career exploration classes from UH Community Colleges.

“As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge Hawai‘i’s high school seniors in their final year, we are committed to providing the support they need to achieve their potential on their paths to better futures for themselves and our islands,” UH President David Lassner said. 

Every student who participates will be connected to an experienced UH Hawaiʻi Advising Cadre member who will provide free personalized support and information to guide them in their next steps whether they plan to enroll in college, enter the military or workforce, or are still undecided. Support will consist of specialized text messages, access to relevant resources and one-on-one support from a dedicated advisor for eight weeks during summer 2021.

Eligible students also will be sponsored to participate in free UH Community Colleges summer career exploration courses. These courses will help students explore career options, plan future steps and develop skills to be successful in college.

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Next Steps Class of 2021 participants also will be eligible for a Next Steps Scholarship to attend a UH campus in fall 2021. 

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“Our graduating seniors have spent the majority of their final year learning from home,” said Stephen Schatz, executive director for Hawai‘i P-20. “We will provide these students with one-on-one personalized advising and counseling support over the summer so they can successfully and seamlessly transition to their post high school plans.” 

UH Vice President for Community Colleges Erika Lacro, said: “We are excited to once again offer free summer Career Exploration classes to help our recent high school graduates develop plans and take the next steps toward their goals. These classes are an opportunity for students to develop plans for their future, become familiar with our community colleges across the state and get a head start on college classes in the fall.”

The Next Steps to Your Future program launched in summer 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 2,100 students participating. Twenty advisors served more than 1,100 class of 2020 graduates via text, email and one-on-one Zoom virtual sessions. In addition, more than 1,400 graduates took online UH Community Colleges classes choosing from 121 classes offered by seven campuses. In addition, 370 Next Steps students were awarded Next Steps Stronger Together Scholarship funded by Hawai‘i Community Foundation and First Hawaiian Bank Foundation with an average award of $6,200. 

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The program has delivered promising results in increasing college enrollment rates for Class of 2020. Graduates who participated in the Next Steps program had a 77.5% college enrollment rate vs. 44.3% for graduates who didn’t participate in the program. In addition, economically disadvantaged graduates who were part of the Next Steps program also enrolled in college at a higher rate than those who did not participate in the program—69.5% compared to 32.5%.

Class of 2020 data also showed that more Next Steps participants enrolled at an UH institution versus non-Next Steps participants: 66.4% of Next Steps participants enrolled at a UH campus in Fall 2020 vs. 23.7% for those that didnʻt participate in the Next Steps program. 

Next Steps to Your Future 2021 is supported by Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, the Stupski Foundation, GEAR UP Hawai‘i and federal CARES Act funding awarded to UH. Next Steps Scholarships are funded with support from Chenter Foundation, UH Alumni Association and other UH Foundation donors.

To sign up for free summer advising, go to nextsteps.hawaii.edu or text “nextsteps” to (808) 437-2719 by May 30. To sign up for free UHCC career exploration classes, go to nextsteps.hawaii.edu.

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