Abstract

As the cost of higher education rises, a growing body of theory and research suggests that asset holding in the form of savings and net worth positively influence education expectations and outcomes. Native Hawaiians, like other Indigenous peoples, have disproportionately low college enrollment and graduation rates tied to a history of colonization. Using data from an Individual Development Account (IDA) program for Native Hawaiians, I examine the trajectories through the program and find: (a) welfare receipt and unemployment reduces the chances of IDA enrollment; (b) net worth increases the probability of IDA graduation; and (c) IDA graduates were more likely to gain a college degree over time compared to non-graduates. The study provides empirical evidence to the debate on asset-based interventions for Indigenous peoples.

Acknowledgments

I extend thanks to Jennifer Loiacono for excellent research assistance. Thanks to Jamie Omori and ALU LIKE, Bank of Hawaii, and the Hawaii Community Foundation for providing funding for the wave 2 survey and to Bob Agres and HACBED for the opportunity to learn about and work in asset-based community development. Finally, mahalo to IDA participants.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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