Chaminade Launches Hawai’i Guarantee Program for Fall 2023


Mariana Wheeler

Chaminade’s Hawai’i Guarantee Program will apply to Fall 2023 Hawai’i High School graduates next year.

With the launch of Chaminade University’s new program that will provide all 2023 Hawai’i high school graduates the same in-state tuition rate as the University of Hawai’i, there has been a mixed reaction from current students and staff. Some people are looking forward to Chaminade’s potential growth and recognition as an institution, but many current students are frustrated that it won’t help their tuition bills in the future.

“Not many people can afford it [college], and so many people end up in debt for life because of it,” said fourth-year Environmental Science major Lara Baldwin from Chicago. 

The current CUH regular tuition rate is an average of $28,544 a year, but with the Hawai’i Guarantee Program initiative, a Hawai’i high school student will pay no more than the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s in-state annual tuition, which will be $11,304 in Fall 2023. 

Abigail Hurgo, Chaminade’s assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said that no student under the program will pay more than $11,000, and it could be less because there could be financial aid and scholarships included.

She also said that Hawai’i students have already been paying this price, but it was just difficult to see because whenever people go to the Chaminade website, they just see one set tuition price. 

“The decrease is a lot,” said second-year Environmental Science major Moanna Blaksteen from the Big Island. “It’s groceries, it’s rent, it’s clothing, it’s a lot of things so it would definitely help.”

Jennifer Creech, Chaminade University’s vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success,  said the advantage is to increase the student population for Hawai’i residents and allows CUH for room to grow as a college. It is unknown how long the program will last but Chaminade is trying it out in Fall 2023 to see what happens and will respond and adapt as necessary.

However, some students are concerned by the idea of Chaminade’s population growing even more because campus feels overpopulated as it is. 

“We don’t have the parking space, we don’t have the dorming, we don’t have the classrooms to fit more people,” Blaksteen said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s only applying to future incoming freshmen because obviously as an ongoing student at Chaminade it’s going to be a little upsetting knowing that people will pay less than what I have to pay.”

However, Creech said that Chaminade has never had a set capacity because students arrive at Chaminade with prior learning credits, as transfer students and various majors which all factor into enrollment capacity.

“Our capacity isn’t a number,” Creech said. “It’s an equation of multiple factors going into play, it’s not a head count, it has to do with credit hours, how many students are in programs, and the capacity of those programs. We are not at our capacity.” 

She also said that CUH is planning for 30% incremental growth over the next several years. This goal is so Chaminade can have the support systems in place that will provide students with the appropriate academic resources they need while ensuring a quality education and small class sizes. 

This fall semester, Chaminade welcomed 390 undergraduate students entering as their first year, which included Nursing, transfer students, and traditional day undergraduate students who are attending college for the first time. 

The Hawai’i Guarantee Program accepts all majors excluding Nursing. 

According to Creech, the tuition increase at Chaminade is an average of 3-5% per year.

“It’s really about increasing awareness and bringing Chaminade into conversations where they might not have seen it as an affordable option in the past,” Creech said. “Locking students into that promise that we are making is showing that we are in this as much as you are to help you be successful in those four years.” 

Some upperclassmen question why the program is just now getting introduced this year when there are many Hawai’i high school graduates who could have taken advantage of the opportunity when they started. 

“I don’t think anything is generally fair enough because things happen and they change and we don’t know what their [the university] decision-making process was,” said fourth-year Environmental and Design major Maria Bernaldez from Waipahu. “If it’s for Hawai’i graduates, there’s gonna be a lot of people that will apply because they don’t want to pay that much tuition.”

Creech said that the university recognizes that there are students who missed out on the opportunity, but it had to launch the program at some point in time and it was an initiative for the upcoming fall class. 

“We are a mission-driven institution and are called to serve our community and we wouldn’t make an initiative if it would financially hurt us, we have a fiscal responsibility,” Creech said.

Students must apply to Chaminade University and submit their FAFSA by Jan. 15 in order to qualify for the Hawai’i Guarantee Program.