HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii is having an virtual college application webinar on May 19 and May 26 at 6 p.m.

Anyone who registers to attend may win a $500 scholarship.

The school will give away two scholarships each night.

To register log onto the Next Steps to Your Future website at nextsteps.hawaii.edu.

That website also has other support services, such as free advising as well as free UH Community College classes.

The event is to encourage everyone especially Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander high school graduates to attend college by giving them information on how to apply, how to take advantage of free classes, how get scholarships and financial aid.

The school hopes to get 1,000 students to put in their application for fall 2021.

UH reports that due to the pandemic it has impacted the number of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders attending college.

35% of Native Hawaiians enrolled in college immediately after graduation, a drop from 44% in the class of 2019, and 29% of Pacific Islanders enrolled in 2020, compared with 35% the year prior.

Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education’s report on the high school class of 2020

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities differently. We want to let students know that it is safe to come to campus and that counselors are ready to help them submit their college application today,” said UH Maui College Chancellor Lui Hokoana. “When we look across the state, our high schools with the largest Native Hawaiian student populations are showing the greatest decline in college applications to the University of Hawai’i. We need to remind students that college is accessible, college is attainable, college is affordable, and the time to apply is now.”

“The pursuit of knowledge is a highly valued element of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island culture,” said Mehanaokala Hind, senior vice president for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “With hope on the horizon in a post-COVID era, let us be inspired by our cultural heritage and look to education as our pathway to a healthy kanaka, a healthy ʻohana and a healthy Hawaiʻi. One of the positive steps we can take to move our families closer to achieving well-being is a college education.”