Earn Your Degree in Hawaii
Hawaii colleges and universities are leading the way in many exciting new initiatives, from going green to providing extra financial aid incentives to students at risk of dropping out of school. Students who are interested in earning their college degree can benefit greatly from online learning, which enables Hawaii residents on any island to earn the same, top-quality college degrees as students living in the bigger cities on O'ahu. This page covers how much it costs to earn an online degree in Hawaii, how to find the best online program and the tips and tricks to save money on tuition, transfer and jump-start your college career.
Best Online Colleges in Hawaii
Hawaii offers some of the best education options in the country. Increasing demand for college-educated professionals and statewide education initiatives drive enrollment in Hawaiian higher education institutions. State leaders in education, government, and the community offer incentives and opportunities for students.
Hawaiian students benefit from a promising landscape, but choosing from the variety of available programs can feel overwhelming. To help you find the best school for your needs, this guide explores Hawaii's most affordable and high-quality schools. The following sections detail funding options, career opportunities for graduates, and information about online learning.
These rankings include
#1 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii
Chaminade University of Honolulu
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Forums, chat, and email provide online enrollees with options for connecting with instructors and classmates. Participants connect with colleagues and faculty through a virtual classroom environment and can collaborate on research and other academic opportunities. Career services prepare learners to succeed in the workforce after graduation.
Degree-seekers often receive scholarships from third-party organizations, along with federal financial aid. The institution's financial aid office provides information about scholarship and fellowship eligibility requirements to prospective students. At the school, 99% of enrollees fund their education using some form of financial aid.
#2 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii
University of Hawaii-West Oahu
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
At University of Hawaii-West Oahu, online students can access programming of equivalent quality to in-person academic options. The school's 2,159 online enrollees can pursue three degrees in a distance format. The flexibility of online programs can benefit learners with personal and professional responsibilities.
Through chat, email, and discussion forums, online students receive opportunities to discuss course material and connect with peers. In collaboration with faculty members and colleagues, learners can pursue research projects, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities relevant to their subject field. Enrollees can use institutional resources, such as career guidance and resume assistance, to prepare to secure a position in their field. Mock interviews help students prepare to secure positions in their field after graduation.
The institution's financial aid office is an excellent resource for applicants who need help exploring their funding options. Enrollees who demonstrate financial need can submit the FAFSA to apply for federal financial aid. Of the school's students, 73% receive financial aid of some type.
#3 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii
Hawaii Pacific University
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Hawaii Pacific University provides high-quality online programs, which meet the same standards as on-campus options. Located in Honolulu, the private school's offerings include 20 remote programs. The institution provides online resources to support its 1,627 distance learners, including virtual library access and tutoring.
Online enrollees can network with peers and receive assistance from instructors through the virtual classroom environment. Curricula feature general education coursework and advanced classes to help learners gain transferable and field-specific skills. Academic advisors help students choose electives that align with their professional aspirations. Experiential learning opportunities such as research projects and internships allow enrollees to gain experience while bolstering their resume.
Applicants should contact the financial aid office to receive information about potential costs and funding options. Potential funding options for students include federal financial aid, institutional awards, and private scholarships.
#4 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii
University of Hawaii at Manoa
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
At University of Hawaii at Manoa, learners can choose flexible online programs to continue working while earning a degree. The school delivers seven online programs, along with on-campus options in Honolulu. The institution enrolls 3,547 degree-seekers in its remote programs.
The school fosters a strong online learning community, featuring collaborative opportunities. While enrolled in their online program, participants can connect with classmates using tools such as videoconferencing. In addition to completing internships, students can conduct original research to gain professional experience and impress employers after graduation. Online learners also benefit from numerous institutional resources, providing support throughout the duration of their program. Networking opportunities and career services help enrollees prepare to succeed in the workforce.
Federal financial aid programs can help students afford higher education. To receive the most funding possible, learners can apply for scholarships, grants, fellowships, and any other awards for which they qualify. According to the institution, 77% of all enrollees receive some type of financial aid.
#5 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii
University of Hawaii at Hilo
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
The virtual classroom environment provides opportunities for enrollees to develop lasting connections and receive individual assistance. Degree-seekers can collaborate with classmates or faculty members on research projects that contribute to their field. Career counselors help students identify professional goals and develop a plan to achieve them. Learners who are nervous about attending job interviews can participate in mock interviews to prepare for their job search.
Program costs vary based on the student's field. Admissions counselors can provide detailed cost information and help applicants understand the amount they should budget for their education. Enrollees often pursue institutional funding and scholarships from third-party organizations.
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Top Online Programs
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Hawaii?
With so many online schools and colleges in Hawaii, learners should thoroughly research their options before enrolling. Students can explore each school's website, the state government's list of colleges and universities, and the state's list of authorized higher education institutions. You can also click the search icon below for more details about online programs in Hawaii.
How Much More Do College Grads in Hawaii Make?
Nationwide, higher education levels tend to lead to more advanced positions and higher salaries. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) illustrates that individuals with higher degrees also enjoy lower unemployment rates.
According to a state report from the Research and Economics Analysis Division, salaries for professionals in the state tend to increase with more advanced education. Hawaii professionals with some college education earn more than the national average for individuals with the same education level. The table below illustrates how educational attainment impacts salaries nationwide.
|Less Than a High School Diploma||High School Diploma||Associate Degree||Bachelor's Degree||Master's Degree||Doctoral Degree|
Paying for Online College in Hawaii: Tuition and Financial Aid
A report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities attributes tuition increases in Hawaii to decreases in state and federal funding since the Great Recession of 2008. While Hawaii is one of the few states to have surpassed pre-recession tuition funding rates, many students still need assistance to pay for their college education. The table below highlights how Hawaii tuition rates compare to national averages.
|In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
|$9,709||$31,019||$9,037 (In-State), $25,657 (Out-of-State)|
|In-State Tuition||National Average|
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Hawaii
The figures above include tuition and tuition-related fees but do not consider additional costs, such as room and board. Although distance learners often save money on housing and transportation, some schools charge online students additional fees. Below are some common expenses online learners.
Distance Education Fees
Some schools charge online students a distance education fee, often to cover administration costs.
Some online programs include on-campus residencies, which may involve costs related to administration, housing, and transportation.
Distance learners often save money on travel costs. However, online students should consider transportation costs for program components such as clinicals and residencies.
Technology and Materials
Online students need to pay for course materials, such as digital textbooks and software. Additionally, some programs charge distance learners a technology fee.
Online students may incur costs as a result of additional internet usage.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Hawaii
Since distance learning reduces constraints related to geographic location, online learners can choose from schools throughout the country. Some schools charge all online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency. However, most online programs require learners to meet the institution's residency requirements to qualify for in-state tuition rates.
Each school sets unique residency requirements. Some schools require students to currently live in the state and to have resided there for a specific period of time. Other institutions offer in-state tuition rates to learners who work in the state. Students should carefully research these requirements, as they can significantly impact tuition rates.
Paying for College in Hawaii: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Hawaii students can access a variety of financial aid options. Scholarships and grants are the most desirable types of funding, since they do not require repayment. The scholarships and grants below are available to Hawaii students. Learners should consider any academic or geographical restrictions that may make them ineligible for an award or grant.
Scholarships for Hawaii College Students
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship from OHA supports native Hawaiian students attending a college or university in Hawaii. Applicants may need to meet specific academic requirements.
Ambassador Minerva Jean Falcon Hawaii Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Available to Hawaii residents, this scholarship supports graduates of a Hawaii high school who plan to attend a Hawaii college or university. Applicants must be enrolling full time and must have a minimum 2.7 GPA.
State of Hawaiʻi B Plus Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to learners who graduated from a Hawaii high school after 2005. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Ka'ehu Scholarship Fund
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Hawaii students who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and female applicants who identify as LGBT receive preference.
AAUW Honolulu Branch Education Fund
Who Can Apply: Women who reside in Hawaii and plan to attend university in the state can apply for this award. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Grants for Hawaii College Students
Who Can Apply: This grant is available to Hawaii residents and students. Applicants must be enrolled in at least six credits and must demonstrate financial need through their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The Second Century Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Available to native Hawaiian students, this grant supports learners who demonstrate financial need and who attend a school in the University of Hawaii system.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
Who Can Apply: Available to students attending community college in Hawaii, this grant supports learners who demonstrate significant financial need.
Amount: Up to $4,000
Gear Up Grant
Who Can Apply: Awarded to at-risk students in Hawaii, this grant program supports high school learners who demonstrate financial need.
Student Incentive Grant
Who Can Apply: Available to Hawaii residents who demonstrate financial need, this grant helps offset the cost of tuition at state colleges and universities.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Hawaii
Accreditation is one of the most reliable methods for evaluating schools and programs. Accreditation indicates that a school or program meets industry or regional educational and professional standards. Accreditation also demonstrates to employers that graduates possess the skills and training necessary to succeed in the workplace. Additionally, many types of financial aid are only available to students at accredited institutions.
Since accrediting bodies vary by industry and location, learners should research which agencies evaluate schools and programs in their field and region.
Regional and National AccreditationRegional and national accreditation are the main types of institutional accreditation in the United States. Vocational and for-profit schools typically receive national accreditation, while degree-granting institutions generally earn regional accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversees the nation's six regional accrediting agencies. In Hawaii, institutions receive regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Subject-Specific AccreditationIn addition to choosing a school with regional or national accreditation, learners can look for programs with field-specific accreditation. Positions and licenses in some industries require a degree from an accredited program. Specialized accreditation ensures that program graduates meet necessary standards for employment in the field. Prospective students should carefully research programmatic accreditation requirements within their intended industry.
How to Know if Your School or Program is AccreditedMost accredited schools and programs display accreditation information on their website. Students can also search for information about a school's accreditation status through the CHEA database and the Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs database.
Online College and Adult Education in Hawaii
Online learning helps improve the accessibility of higher education throughout the nation. In addition to reducing constraints related to geographic location, online programs often provide flexible scheduling options for students with personal and professional responsibilities. The following sections provide information about adult education in Hawaii and state initiatives to support these students.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Hawaii
In Hawaii, 46.3% of working-age residents (ages 25-64) hold a degree.
From 2017 to 2019, the percentage of working-age residents who hold a college degree increased 1.4%.
Of students taking exclusively online courses in Hawaii, 88% are state residents.
Adult Education Programs for Hawaii Students
Online College Resources for Hawaii Students
The resources below provide additional information for learners researching online schools and colleges in Hawaii. The following websites provide state-specific information about online education.