Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need to be Hawaiian to apply? Are these scholarships open only to Hawaii residents? Explore our FAQ page for answers to your college scholarship questions.

Award Selection & Notification Process

Selection Process

  • Completed applications submitted by the deadline are reviewed according to specific fund criteria
  • Applications are sent to committees for review and ranking

Notification Process

  • An email is sent to all applicants asking them to log back into their Pauahi Foundation application account for notification of award or denial
  • Only applicants who clicked the “Submit” button will be receiving this message

Use of Award

  • Funds must be used for educational expenses such as tuition, fees and books.

Awardee Terms & Conditions

Awardee Terms & Conditions

  • By using the Student Scholarship Electronic Agreement form to accept an award from the Pauahi Foundation, I consent to electronic transactions with Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation generally and consent to electronically enroll myself in Kamehameha Schools and Pauahi Foundation as set out in this Agreement specifically. I understand I can withdraw this consent to electronic transactions at any time by so informing Pauahi Foundation in writing, and thereafter transactions with me will be conducted by paper. Withdrawing consent will not affect the validity of the Student Scholarship Electronic Agreement or any other transactions conducted electronically prior to my withdrawal of consent to electronic transactions.
  • The intent and purpose of this scholarship is to assist with my (the student’s) educational needs.
  • I/We understand that funding from this scholarship is to be used for educational costs such as tuition, fees, and books.
  • I/We acknowledge that I/we am/are responsible for informing the Financial Aid Office at my (the student’s) college/university of any award that I/we receive from the Pauahi Foundation.
  • The award offer is only valid for the school years stated
  • I/We may not defer this award and understand that the funds awarded are only valid for the academic year stated above and will not be held for me should I choose not to enroll in a post-high institution. I also understand the funds may not be held by the post-high institution for future use should I choose to defer my enrollment for the academic year stated above.
  • I am/will be attending an institution in Hawai‘i or the continental U.S.
  • I/We authorize Pauahi Foundation to release information regarding my (the students) scholarship to my school and the media and hereby release any rights I have to photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings and I acknowledge that the Foundation is the owner and copyright holder of them. I also consent to the Foundation using the photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings in any manner for any purpose deemed appropriate by the Foundation including but not limited to video productions, broadcasts, advertising, brochures, calendars, newsletters, books (including e-books), internal webpages, email and any other computer readable formats, video or audio segments of any nature by any means, and in all other media and publications now known or hereafter to become known.
  • Any change in institution will require a review of scholarship criteria and a new college acceptance letter in order for funds to be disbursed.
  • Any lawsuit or claim against KS must be brought exclusively in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai‘i or in the state courts of the State of Hawai‘i. Any federal claims shall be governed exclusively by the federal law applied by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai‘i and any state law claims shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the State of Hawai‘i, without reference to its conflict of law rules.
  • I (the student) agree to submit a hand-written (not typed or emailed) thank you card expressing my appreciation to the scholarship donor by the deadline date and time.

I/We understand and agree that if all terms of this scholarship are not met for each term awarded, the scholarship will be terminated and I/we am/are not able to claim funding either in-part or as a whole.

Additional Terms & Conditions for Multi-Year Scholarship Recipients

  • Funds are available for the years communicated or until degree is obtained, whichever is reached first. If the student graduates after the first year, the remaining award will not be paid.
  • I/We may not defer any part of this award if I am unable to enroll/attend school for any particular year.
  • I (the student) will maintain at a minimum, a 2.0 GPA at the undergraduate or vocational/technical level; or a 3.0 GPA at the graduate level and above.
  • I (the student) will provide an official transcript at the end of each year of award.

I/We understand and agree that if all terms of this scholarship are not met for each term awarded, the scholarship will be terminated and I/we am/are not able to claim funding either in-part or as a whole.

Hoʻoulu Verification Services

Pauahi Foundation’s policy is to give preference to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law. The Foundation utilizes the services of Kamehameha Schools’ Ho‘oulu Verification Services (Data Center) to verify Hawaiian ancestry of those applicants who wish to be considered under the Foundation’s preference policy.

More Info

This is a separate process and should not be confused with the scholarship application process.

All questions regarding Hawaiian ancestry registration and verification should be directed to:

Ho‘oulu Verification Services
567 South King Street, Suite 102
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813

Toll-free: 1-800-842-4682, press 9, then dial 96228
Email: registry@ksbe.edu

Visit Hoʻoulu Verification Services website.

How to Register Complete Pauahi Foundation’s online scholarship application. If you have not previously registered with Data Center, you will receive a Hawaiian Ancestry Registration (HAR) form in the mail, which you should complete and return if you wish to be considered under the Foundation’s preference policy. This process may take up to ten weeks.

Registered Already?If you have already completed the Hawaiian ancestry verification process with the Kamehameha Schools Ho‘oulu Verification Services, then no further action on your part is necessary.

In addition, you do not need to send us a copy of your verification letter. The Foundation has processes in conjunction with Hoʻoulu Verification Center where we will confirm ancestry data.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


How many Pauahi Foundation scholarships are available this year?

There are over 100 scholarship funds are available to the public this year, with each fund varying in criteria and the number of awards distributed. Please review our Scholarships Listing.

Do I have to be a Hawaiʻi state resident to apply?

No, not necessarily. A majority of scholarship are not restricted to Hawaiʻi residents, however, there are scholarships that do require applicants to be Hawaiʻi residents or require you to attend a college/university in Hawaiʻi.

Do I need to be of Hawaiian ancestry to apply?

Applications are open to the general public, however, it is the policy of the Pauahi Foundation to give preference to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law. Please refer to the Hoʻoulu Verification Services section above or go directly to the webpage.

Is there a difference between Pauahi Foundation Scholarships and the Kamehameha Schools College Scholarships program?

Yes, there is and you may want to consider applying for both.

Pauahi Foundation scholarships are funded by private donors and are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or donor specified criteria. Kamehameha Schools’ college scholarships are funded annually by the Kamehameha endowment through the Kamehameha budgeting process, which is separate from the Foundation’s funds.

Please visit Kamehameha Schools College Scholarship for more information on their application process and requirements.

Do I need to re-apply if I received a scholarship last year?

It depends upon which scholarship you received. The Foundation has several scholarships designated as “multi-year” scholarships in which you will receive funding for designated years provided you comply with requirements on an annual basis. Other scholarships, which do not have the “multi-year” designation, are funds that require an annual application submittal.

Can I apply for more than one Pauahi Foundation scholarship?

Yes, as long as you fulfill the eligibility requirements for all scholarships you apply for.


What do I do if I forgot my application username and/or password?

Your username is typically the email address you signed up with. If you’ve forgotten your password, please click on the ‘Forgot your password?’ link on the log-in page. For additional help, please contact us.

What do I do if my essay is being cut off?

All essay entries have a limitation of 3,000 characters, which is counted by each stroke on the keyboard (characters, spaces, returns). The counter at the bottom of the entry block indicates the number of characters you have remaining and will display a negative number if you are over the 3,000 character limit. In the event of an overage, you will need to edit your entry down to the 3,000 character limit.

What if I can't find my institution on the application's drop-down list?

First, check that your institution is accredited by referencing our Getting Started page. If your institution is accredited by one of these accrediting bodies, click on “Other” and type in your institution in the text box provided.

Why can't I click on the 'Review Submitted Application' link?

The “Review Submitted Application” link will only become clickable after you’ve submitted your online application, i.e. you’ve clicked the “Submit” button at the end of the online application.

May I make changes to my online application once it has been submitted?

No, once your online application is submitted request for changes must be submitted in writing prior to the deadline via email to scholarships@pauahi.org

I uploaded my SAR and/or my Official School Transcript via my application. But it says it was 'Declined.' Why?

Ensure that the document you are uploading is a PDF or JPG/JPEG file that does not exceed 15mb.

Otherwise, a Pauahi Foundation scholarship team member has reviewed your document submission and is requesting another document be submitted.

Log back into your Online Application, then click on Step 3: Required Documents (Upload & Check Status). Hover your mouse/cursor over the blue ‘?‘ icon located to the far right of the document name for status and details.  You may re-upload another document by clicking on the ‘Upload’ link.

What is an Official School Transcript?

An Official Transcript is typically issued either directly to the student or to Pauahi Foundation by your school’s Registrar’s Office. The following elements should be visible on an Official School Transcript:

  • Name of school/institution, school logo, seal or watermark
  • School/Institution’s registrar or designated official’s signature, date
  • “Official Transcript” notation, watermark or page border
  • Student’s name and (if applicable) degree program information
  • Student’s completed school term(s) with total or cumulative grade point averages and final class grade information. See “Official Transcript Information” table for more.

Unverified or documents marked as “Unofficial” will not be accepted. Screenshots (partial or full) of grades will not be accepted.

Click here for delivery method information. 

When can I apply and submit all my required documents?

If you are a current KS High School senior, your scholarship application window opens on November 6, 2019 at 8:00am (HST). A completed online application and all required documents must be received by our office no later than December 20, 2019 at 4:15pm (HST)

All others (general public), may apply beginning December 25, 2019 at 8:00am (HST). A completed online application and all required documents must be received by our office no later than February 7, 2020 at 4:15pm (HST).


Can I have the writer of my LOR mail or email their response to Pauahi Foundation?

No. Request for LORs and receipt of LORs must be completed online, via the link sent to the writer from your scholarship application. Required LORs must be received by Pauahi Foundation no later than the program deadline date and time.

To request an LOR, log back into your Online Application, then click on Step 2: Manage Letters of Recommendation. Complete all required fields, then click the green ‘Send Recommendation’ button. You will receive an email notification upon successful completion by your LOR writer.

Can a family member write an LOR on my behalf?

No. Letters of recommendation from family members are not accepted. If a letter if found to be from a family member and you are awarded a scholarship, the scholarship will be rescinded and awarded to the next eligible ranked student.

What if I don't have a teacher or counselor that is able to write an LOR on my behalf?

The requirement of submitting letters of recommendation for select funds is set forth by the donors. If you are unable to find the specific type of writer, i.e. educator, community or employer, then you may have to evaluate your eligibility for the scholarship.

Can the same LOR be applied to multiple scholarship funds?

Yes, as long as it satisfies the specific type of recommendation required for each scholarship fund.


What is FAFSA? What is an SAR?

The FAFSA is a form administered by the U.S. Department of Education. By the information you provide from tax forms, W2s, other earned income, etc., third parties, such as college institutions are able to award college aid.

The Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes all information you provided on your FAFSA. Your SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid and also the number the Foundation uses to determine financial need.

How do I obtain my SAR?

You should complete the FAFSA if you are applying for any of our scholarships with the criteria, “Demonstrate financial need.”

You will receive your SAR by email within 3-5 days after your submitted online FAFSA has been processed, if you provided an email address when you applied. This email will contain a secure link so you can access your SAR online. Make sure to download all pages of your SAR as a PDF file.

If you have a “junk” or “spam” folder, check it.

Can I submit my 'Print Summary' from FAFSA?

No. We do not accept the ‘Print Summary’ in lieu of the SAR.

What do I do once I receive my SAR from FAFSA?

Provide the Foundation with a PDF file of your SAR if you are applying to a fund which requires it. Upload ALL pages of your SAR via your Pauahi Foundation Online Application.  Once you are logged in, click on Step 3: Required Documents (Upload & Check Status). Select the appropriate file and click ‘Upload.’


If selected as a recipient, when will I receive the check?

Award checks are disbursed directly to your chosen institution at the start of the Fall semester (August).

What if I change institutions?

Awards are based on information provided from the applicant and according to the criteria set forth by the donors. A re-evaluation of the new information will be made and you will be notified of the decision. Please contact Pauahi Foundation (email: scholarships@pauahi.org) as soon as possible if you will be changing institutions.

Can I defer the scholarship?

No. If you are unable to utilize the funds for the academic year it is being awarded for, you will forfeit the award and the scholarship will be awarded to the next eligible ranked student.

Current KS Seniors

The application window for the 2020-21 academic year is now CLOSED. Award status will be posted May 2020. To check your award status, click the button below to log back into your online application.

Check My Award Status

Public Applicants

The application window for the 2020-21 academic year is now CLOSED. Award status will be posted June 2020.

Program Timeline