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Community, Community, Culture, Education, Uncategorized 05 Jan 2016   »   by TheWhatItDo


There is no question that a top issue concerning young people nowadays is the cost of higher education. In America, the average student debt reaches close to $30,000 in loans which, given the average lifetime and salary, may take a college graduate their entire lives to pay off. A hefty student debt most often implies a slighted financial aid package which in this day in age becomes a deciding factor for most high school seniors to even entertain the thought of college. And, when looking specifically at the Pacific Islander student demographic as a national statistic, we stand as a rare commodity in the realm of higher education.

A minority of the minority, first year Pacific Islander college students carry the weight of their family hardship and the certainty of being the token Pacific Islander in their classrooms. This serves as a challenge to many who – on top of learning how to navigate college and the social tundra of campus life – also symbolize the ‘saving grace’ who brings pride to the family name.

Fortunately, the village behind them continues to grow in consciousness and remain active in initiative to de-burden Pacific Islander students of the socioeconomic inequities that for years have placed our community in a stagnant position of desolation.

The first of its kind, The United States South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP) plans to award students the chance to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree at the University of Hawai’i, beginning in August 2016! The objective of the USSP Scholarship is to equip students with the tools and knowledge for them to return to their respective Pacific nations and begin the change that is much needed. This opportunity of a lifetime comes as a light of hope for many young Pacific Islander students who otherwise may not have the chance of pursuing higher education.

Unfortunately, the USSP Scholarship is open only to students from South Pacific countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu).

What does the Scholarship consist of?

Scholarship recipients will receive the following:

  • Tuition and fees payable to the University of Hawai‘i.
  • Housing in a student residence hall.
  • Monthly allowance for food, clothing, and incidental expenses.
  • Health insurance in accordance with Exchange Visitor (J-1 visa) regulations.
  • An initial settling-in allowance.
  • An annual book allowance.
  • Initial and terminal transportation to all official activity sites.
  • A mentoring program with the possibility of a follow-on summer internship arranged.


Click here to learn more about the USSP Scholarship!

Best of luck to all that are applying and understand that you are not alone in this journey to empowerment and that’s WHATITDO!

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