The Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Financial Aid

Financial Aid FAQS.
Everyone who is interested in a school should apply; that may be the only way you’ll learn if you qualify.


Q: Who should apply for financial aid?

A: Everyone who is interested in a school should apply; that may be the only way you’ll learn if you qualify. This year, financial aid may be even more key for people who have seen, or anticipate seeing, a decline in income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several schools are planning to offer more aid this year than in years past. Assets, ‘Iolani and Mid-Pacific schools are fundraising specifically for families facing challenges this year. Others, including Hanahau‘oli School, are also putting more money into their financial aid budgets. Make sure that you let the school know about any changes to your finances this year that are not reflected in your 2019 tax returns.


Q: Will applying for aid affect my child’s chances of being admitted?

A: No. Admission and financial aid decisions are separate and independent. 


Q: Is need determined by my salary?

A: Not entirely. Many parents ask, “How much do I have to make in order to qualify?” It depends on each person’s situation. In years past, the advice was to see if you could set aside 10% of the tuition a month for 10 months by adjusting spending, maximizing earnings and evaluating your assets. If the payments were still beyond your reach, you might be a candidate. Now, most schools say it is best just to ask. has a calculator that takes into account various factors, including debt and number of children in tuition-charging institutions, to analyze need. Find it at


Q: Do I need to apply every year?

A: Yes. In general, if there is little or no change in your family’s circumstances, you can expect the award to stay at about the same level.


Q:Are there other options for financial aid?

A: Starting with the school of your choice is always best. There are limited options for elementary through high school education. But parents of preschoolers can apply for subsidies through PATCH Hawai‘i’s Open Doors program. Kamehameha Schools also offers Pauahi Keiki Scholars and Kīpona scholarships for children with Native Hawaiian ancestry attending participating schools.


Q: What are the common mistakes parents make?

A: Not starting early. Applications are often available in the fall and the process of gathering all the documents you need can be time-consuming. Reach out to the school for help if you have questions. Turn in everything before the deadline so there is time for the office to ensure all necessary documents are in order. Keep in mind that although it is never too late to apply, funds are limited. The first round of aid is usually the largest.


Q: Do you need to repay financial aid?

A: No. It is a grant, not a loan.


Q. If parents are divorced, do both of them still need to provide information?

A. Yes. Each biological parent needs to submit a separate form. Stepparents are often also required to do the same.