Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

ASO Staff Writers
Updated September 26, 2023
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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.

#1 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Location-markerHonolulu, HI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$26,020
  • Out-of-state$26,020
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate95%
  • Students Enrolled2,167
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment55%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

University of Hawaii-West Oahu

  • Location-markerKapolei, HI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,344
  • Out-of-state$20,304
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate84%
  • Students Enrolled3,049
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment71%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

Hawaii Pacific University

  • Location-markerHonolulu, HI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$27,000
  • Out-of-state$27,000
  • Retention Rate58%
  • Acceptance Rate75%
  • Students Enrolled4,170
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Location-markerHonolulu, HI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,304
  • Out-of-state$33,336
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate58%
  • Students Enrolled17,490
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment20%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Online Schools and Colleges in Hawaii

University of Hawaii at Hilo

  • Location-markerHilo, HI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,344
  • Out-of-state$20,304
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate52%
  • Students Enrolled3,372
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment33%
  • AccreditationYes

Top Online Programs

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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.

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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.

Salary According to Degree
Less Than a High School DiplomaHigh School DiplomaAssociate DegreeBachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeDoctoral 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.

Public Colleges and Universities
In-State TuitionOut-of-State TuitionNational Average
$9,709$31,019$9,037 (In-State), $25,657 (Out-of-State)
Private Colleges and Universities
In-State TuitionNational 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.

  1. 1

    Distance Education Fees

    Some schools charge online students a distance education fee, often to cover administration costs.

  2. 2

    Residency Costs

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

  3. 3


    Distance learners often save money on travel costs. However, online students should consider transportation costs for program components such as clinicals and residencies.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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

plus-smOffice 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

plus-smAmbassador 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

plus-smState 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

plus-smKa’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

plus-smAAUW 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

Grants for Hawaii College Students

plus-smHawaii’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

plus-smThe 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

plus-smFederal 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

plus-smGear 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

plus-smStudent 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

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.

Adult Education Programs for Hawaii Students

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.
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.
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.

The department’s website provides information about state initiatives, programs, and services. Students can also learn about state schools and financial aid.
In addition to information about state schools, this resource covers common mistakes to avoid when applying to a program.
This Department of Education agency supports adult learners and programs. The website offers information about adult education programs and application requirements.
This resource provides information about Hawaii’s Gear Up. Site visitors can learn about various aspects of the program, along with participants and partners.
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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