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Chaminade and Kamehameha Schools offer free tuition to prospective educators

Chaminade University

More partners are joining forces to close the gap in the state's teacher shortage.

Chaminade University and Kamehameha Schools will use roughly $1 million annually to fund educator scholarships at the college.

In its first year, the full ride Muʻo Scholarship will be available for an online program to earn a bachelor’s degree. The scholarship is specifically crafted for those studying early, primary or secondary education.

The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, valued at $100,600, and takes 36 to 48 months to complete. Qualified applicants must be current residents of Hawaiʻi.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said this ties directly into her Ready Keiki Initiative, designed to provide universal preschool access throughout the state.

"We hear about teacher shortage on a yearly basis," Luke said at a press conference Wednesday.

That "teacher shortage" includes the 740 educator vacancies the state saw in 2022. The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Associated found that more than 60,000 keiki are currently not taught by a "qualified teacher," with many being emergency hires or long-term substitutes.

"One of the things that we wanted to make sure is if we're planning to build out enough preschools to fill the need for our community, we also needed to make sure that there was enough teachers to fill the void," she said.

In total, Kamehameha Schools will fund 150 Muʻo scholarships, starting the first 50 this fall. It will prioritize Native Hawaiians.

"The amount of preschools that we are planning to build over the next year, next 10 years is about 450 preschools. That means we're going to need 450 preschool teachers. That also means we're going to need 450 teacher assistants," Luke said.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship program is June 1. For more information, click here.

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