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The Hukilau program is a work-study program sponsored by BYU–Hawaii. The purpose of the Hukilau Work-Study Program at BYU–Hawaii is to provide financial support to qualified students, enabling them to graduate without debt and be well-prepared to serve and lead in their families, communities, chosen fields, and in building the Kingdom of God. The program is based on the principle of self-reliance, where students take on personal responsibility and accountability by working and contributing a portion of their own educational costs.

A student participating in the Hukilau program works for 19 hours a week at BYU–Hawaii or the Polynesian Cultural Center. A portion of the income from that job is contributed to pay the student’s tuition and fees, housing, and meal plan. An additional contribution, determined by assessment of financial need, is provided by the student and their family. The remaining costs for schooling are covered by funds from BYU–Hawaii.


To be eligible for the Hukilau Program, applicants must be able to fill out a FAFSA form. Read more about federal financial aid eligibility.


Participants of the Hukilau Program are expected to:

  • Maintain good academic standing and be enrolled as a full-time student at BYU–Hawaii.
  • Maintain employment at BYU–Hawaii or the Polynesian Cultural Center.
    • Must work 19 hours per week during the semester and may work up to 40 hours per week during semester breaks on campus.
  • Provide the specified family contribution and student contribution.
    • These contributions are determined by the financial circumstances of the student.
  • Live by the CES Honor Code, including renewing their ecclesiastical endorsement each year.


To apply for the Hukilau Program, applicants should:

  • Complete an application to BYU–Hawaii or be a current student of BYU–Hawaii in good standing.
  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Complete a Hukilau application.

Hukilau Updates

  • The funds that were issued as a forgivable loan will now be issued as a grant.
  • Instead of being required to work for a minimum of three years at PCC, Hukilau students will receive their first job assignment at PCC but may work elsewhere on campus or at PCC after their initial job.
  • Institutional scholarships will be awarded to the Hukilau program student's account without additional restrictions.
  • Effective January 1, 2023, all students in the Hukilau program must secure a job with BYU–Hawaii (BYUH) or the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) by the third Wednesday after classes begin. The PCC has the first opportunity to hire students in the Hukilau program. Those not selected by the PCC must find employment at BYUH. Any Hukilau students still not employed by BYUH or the PCC by the second Wednesday after classes begin are required to meet with an Hukilau, financial aid, or student employment counselor within 48 hours. Counselors will help students to find a job. Those who fail to meet with a counselor and secure a job by the third Wednesday after classes begin will no longer be eligible for Hukilau funding.

The State of Hawaii minimum wage will increase from $12.00 to $14.00 per hour. As a result of this change, beginning the first pay period in January 2024, the Hukilau financial payback will increase as follows:

  • Those with a $150 payback will have it increased to $200 per pay period (TVA).
  • Those with a $200 payback will have it increased to $250 per pay period (apartment style). 
  • Those with a $270 payback will have it increased to $320 per pay period (dormitory style). 

The work-study program is built on the principle of self-reliance, which means students cover a portion of their costs and the university covers the rest. Naturally, as the participants' capacity to pay more increases so does the expectation for the participant to pay more towards their education. Please plan and budget accordingly for this required update.