Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

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 2020

Best Online Schools

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.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Leeward Community College Pearl City, HI Tuition $3,024 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 16% Financial Aid 27% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI Tuition $23,180 # of Online Programs 17 Acceptance Rate 91% Graduation Rate 51% Financial Aid 98% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers several online undergraduate degrees geared toward adult learners, military students and others needing flexibility. Most courses are in an accelerated, 10-week format, which allows for earlier graduation, and are offered 100% online, or can be combined with evening and weekend classes, depending on a student's needs. These are all 120-credit programs, with varying special requirements required prior to graduation, such as a community services internship for the religious studies program; or Praxis II testing, student teaching credits and licensure preparation for the secondary education program.

2 University of Hawaii-West Oahu Kapolei, HI Tuition $7,200 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 68% Graduation Rate 44% Financial Aid 69% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The University of Hawaii at West Oahu's online bachelor's degree programs are considered transfer programs and are designed for students who have completed lower division courses on campus, or through other schools within the UH system. Students will enter the online programs as juniors and can then complete all upper-division courses completely online, which can take between two and three years. Technology used for online classes include interactive television service, Blackboard Collaborate and Laulina, UH's course management and collaboration system. Degrees are offered in business, public administration, social sciences, early childhood education, political science and psychology fully online.

3 Hawai'i Pacific University Honolulu, HI Tuition $23,160 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate 75% Graduation Rate 44% Financial Aid 87% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The available online bachelor's degrees at Hawaii Pacific University are 4-year programs, with 36 general education credits; a combination of lower and upper division, degree-specific courses; and a capstone or practicum prior to graduation. Areas of study include psychology, history, diplomacy and military studies, and business, with options for areas of concentration depending on the program. These degrees prepare graduates for entry into major-related career fields while also providing a stepping stone to graduate school.

4 University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI Tuition $10,872 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate 85% Graduation Rate 61% Financial Aid 50% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Online students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa can earn bachelor's degrees in nursing after completing AA degrees at designated Hawaiian community colleges, earn bachelor's degrees in economics or design their own online majors through the interdisciplinary studies program. The interdisciplinary program is flexible, requiring 36 major credits based on students' interests and approval by advisors.

The school also offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in secondary education; graduate certificates in various education topics; and master's degrees in such subjects as nursing, business, education and counseling, all online. Manoa students have additional options for distance learning through other colleges in the UH system, and through the Western University Exchange. Courses through Manoa are through ITS (interactive Television Service) or Laulima, the UH system's course delivery system.

5 University of Hawaii at Hilo Hilo, HI Tuition $7,200 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 69% Graduation Rate 42% Financial Aid 46% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

University of Hawaii at Hilo online bachelor's degrees are 120-credit, 2-year programs with required prerequisites that are geared toward psychology students and nursing students with current RN licenses. Psychology students may be able to complete all 45 upper-division courses online, but these courses have limited space, and entry is selective. Prerequisites for both programs, along with other bachelor's degrees, can found online or on campus at affiliated community colleges or other University of Hawaii system colleges. While most courses are fully online and may use video conferencing, face-to-face instruction is required for nursing in the simulation lab, and both majors involve clinical rotations.

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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
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

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.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$9,709 $31,019

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$16,447 N/A $30,731

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.
Residency Costs: Some online programs include on-campus residencies, which may involve costs related to administration, housing, and transportation.
Travel: 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 Costs: 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.

Amount: Varies

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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.

Amount: Varies

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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

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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.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

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.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for Hawaii College Students

Hawaii's Promise

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.

Amount: Varies

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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.

Amount: Varies

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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

Apply For Grant

Gear Up Grant

Who Can Apply: Awarded to at-risk students in Hawaii, this grant program supports high school learners who demonstrate financial need.

Amount: Varies

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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.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

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 Accreditation

Regional 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 Accreditation

In 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 Accredited

Most 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.

Sources: University of Hawaiʻi, Digital Learning Compass

Adult Education Programs for Hawaii Students

  • 55 by '25: This community-driven action plan and program comprises several initiatives. The primary goal is for 55% of Hawaii's adult population to possess higher education training by 2025.
  • iCAN Transition Program: This program helps provide adults with access to college, career, and career training programs. With several locations, the program helps learners gain training in a variety of disciplines.
  • Adult Education Program: Run by the Hawaii State Department of Education, this adult education program offers access to courses that can lead to a GED credential, high school equivalency diploma, or workforce development diploma.

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.

  • Hawaii Department of Education: The department's website provides information about state initiatives, programs, and services. Students can also learn about state schools and financial aid.
  • Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program: In addition to information about state schools, this resource covers common mistakes to avoid when applying to a program.
  • State Adult Education Agency: This Department of Education agency supports adult learners and programs. The website offers information about adult education programs and application requirements.
  • Gear Up Hawaii: This resource provides information about Hawaii's Gear Up. Site visitors can learn about various aspects of the program, along with participants and partners.
  • University of Hawaii System: This website provides information about the schools and programs available through the University of Hawaii System. Learners can access websites for the 10 UH campuses.

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