Report from Windward Community College – The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation has awarded a matching grant of $922,815.33 for Paipai ‘o Ko‘olau, a new initiative at Windward Community College to increase college access and completion. Paipai ‘o Ko‘olau means “the support or encouragement of the Ko‘olau.” Paipai refers to a supporting structure and can also be thought of as the mountains holding up the island. The new program will increase graduation rates and/or transfer to a four-year baccalaureate institution for full-time and part-time students by combining a community advisory board along with the efforts of a dedicated cadre of Windward CC educators.
“We have so many community members who could thrive in higher education, building the educational capital of our community. However, for many, college is not a part of their daily reality and may seem unattainable. In our community and our state, college completion disparities generally reflect socio-economic disparities and correlate with race and ethnicity,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at Windward CC Ardis Eschenberg. “This program helps us grow holistically as a community, making education accessible to all.”
Windward CC Chancellor Doug Dykstra continued, “We are committed to access and success in higher education for Hawai‘i’s residents and in particular to Native Hawaiians. Windward CC has been ramping up efforts to reach out to the Windward O‘ahu communities and now 43 percent of its students are Native Hawaiian. Paipai ‘o Ko‘olau will help us better support students through graduation or transfer.”
Paipai ‘o Ko‘olau is a four-year pilot project that will, with community help, identify 200 potential students (50 per year) who may not have been likely to attend college, but have been identified as having potential to benefit from and contribute to college. Faculty and staff will strongly support these promising students from application through their first two years. The students will benefit from a combination of significant financial aid, community involvement and proven academic strategies — summer bridge programs, dedicated and proactive advising, cohort scheduling, and peer mentoring.
“Now more than ever, college is the gateway to a better life in Windward O‘ahu because the great majority of good new jobs require a college degree,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation Terrence George. “Our Foundation believes that every person in Ko‘olaupoko and Ko‘olauloa deserves the chance to get through this gateway, and we are thrilled to partner with Windward Community College to make this belief come true for hundreds of students.”
To learn how you can support students and programs at Windward CC please contact KC Collins, CFRE at (808) 956-3458 or KC.Collins@UHFoundation.org