‘Taste of College’ is food for the mind

PUHI — A lot of students qualify, but never get any money because they don’t apply, said Frances Dinan of the Kaua‘i Community College Financial Aids Office during the “Taste of College” event Thursday night.

Geared for high school students and their parents, the program was coordinated through the Student Services office and sponsored by Gear Up Hawai‘i as a means of encouraging high school students to pursue higher education following their high school career.

“More and more jobs are requiring education beyond the high school level,” said KCC Chancellor Peggy Cha. She noted that with the current economic situation, it helps people with higher education to earn more in the job market as well.

Rhonda Liu, an outreach counselor with the Student Services offices, said the program is geared toward helping high school students get a headstart in their college education.

One of the programs that help students achieve this is the Running Start program where high school students are able to take college courses at KCC and earn college credits while satisfying their high school requirements at the same time.

Defined as a dual enrollment program, Running Start is available to 11th- and 12th-graders who need to get the approval of their high school counselors before registering.

“When you are registered, you are considered a regular college student,” Liu said. “Generally, students take the introductory courses such as English 101, history, or speech. These credits transfer if the student attends the University of Hawai‘i. Other colleges require the student to check and see which Running Start credits are eligible for transfer to the school of their choice.”

Since the students are considered regular college students, Liu said scholarships are available for students on free, or reduced lunch, but others have to figure out how to pay for the credits.

Dinan said time is running out for students who have not applied for financial aid, but they are still able to fill out applications.

On the other side of the coin, Dinan said a lot of the funds go out early, but students should not be discouraged for applying for financial aid.

Erin Adamic, Sheryll Yotsuda, Jenny-len Espina and Seluvaia Taulanga are four students from Kaua‘i’s high schools who currently work with Liu in the Student2Student program.

Because they are alumni of schools here, the students visit the campus and work with counselors and students on a personal basis to discuss college life and the importance of continuing education beyond high school.

Almost all of the students said they selected KCC because it kept them closer to home, but more importantly, cost less than colleges away from Kaua‘i. They plan to continue their studies after getting the basic core courses out of the way.

Money is just one of six reasons students choose not to go to college. This was brought out by one of the games the Student2Student group uses at the high schools to see why students choose not to continue.

Once a student is accepted into the Running Start or Early Admit program, Liu said Kimo Perry offers the COMPASS testing which places the student into the appropriate class.

Armed with brochures, tips, and information on KCC, the students and parents were given an opportunity to visit with professors and staff of the different departments to learn more about what kinds of opportunities exist in the different fields.

Lorrie Cahill of the Co-op/Internship/Employment office said the college will be hosting a job fair Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the college’s Fine Dining area.

“We’ll have a wide range of employers from McDonald’s to Lockheed,” Cahill said.

Want to Go?

What: Job fair

Where: Kauai Community College Fine Dining area

When: Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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