Best Colleges in Hawaii

Hawaii College Guide – What You Need to Know

Hawaii is a one of the smaller states in the U.S., but that doesn't mean it is lacking in education. In fact, it is home to a robust state university system, a healthy community college system, and several private colleges. In fact, the small size of the state has the direct result of yielding smaller colleges and universities. While you can still graduate with a top-notch education from a wide range of degree programs, your class sizes will be smaller, and your relationships with your fellow students far more intimate.

If, however, you wish to travel off the island for college, you can study at a public university for in-state tuition, thanks to the Western Undergraduate Exchange program. Thus, you can attend college in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and many other schools that are part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The converse applies, in case you live in an applicable state and wish to study in Hawaii.

What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in Hawaii?

Students in Hawaii wish to pursue the same sorts of professions as students in the rest of the U.S. They have dreams of succeeding in business, becoming healthcare providers, or running a hospital. Hawaiians might put their own particular spin on how those careers manifest. For instance, many who pursue business might find themselves in the hotel/resort industry or some part of the state’s flourishing tourism trade. Engineers might work more with maritime issues than their counterparts, and accountants might do taxes for more suntanned surf-shop owners than the average CPA.

Top Majors in Hawaii:

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree in Hawaii


NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best Associate Degrees in Hawaii


Hawaii community colleges are great sources for the best associate degrees in a variety of areas including accounting, business, sustainable agriculture, STEM, entrepreneurship, hospitality and tourism, IT, nursing, and many others. These degrees can help students move directly into an entry-level position in some industries, into a trade career where they can gain real world experience, or into a bachelor’s degree program that will only take two more years to complete. See our entire list of the best colleges for associate degrees in Hawaii.

Hawaii Medical College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
626
Graduation Rate
83%
Net Price
$30,894
Windward Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,520
Graduation Rate
28%
Net Price
$10,197
Hawaii Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,615
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
$11,182
Honolulu Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
3,510
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
$8,796
Kauai Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,373
Graduation Rate
24%
Net Price
$10,118
Kapiolani Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
6,488
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$6,752
Leeward Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
6,568
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$8,212
University of Hawaii Maui College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,992
Graduation Rate
19%
Net Price
$9,598

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Hawaii


The top bachelor’s programs in Hawaii are spread throughout the islands. Some of the most popular and reputable programs in the state are in highly specialized areas such as film, logistics, aeronautics and aviation, health professions, database management, and many more. Check out our full list of excellent colleges below to find the perfect college or university with the perfect degree program for you. With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be ready to enter positions and earn promotions in your chosen career.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
3,096
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
$12,679
University of Hawaii at Manoa
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
17,490
Graduation Rate
61%
Net Price
$15,441
Chaminade University of Honolulu
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,167
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$24,653
Hawaii Pacific University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
4,170
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$27,281
University of Hawaii at Hilo
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
3,372
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$14,338
Pacific Rim Christian University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
145
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$13,927
University of Hawaii-West Oahu
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
3,049
Graduation Rate
28%
Net Price
$11,766
University of Phoenix-Hawaii
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
197
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
NA
University of Hawaii Maui College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,992
Graduation Rate
19%
Net Price
$9,598

Best Master's Degrees in Hawaii


Advanced degrees in Hawaii are widely available at both the master’s degree and doctoral degree levels. Students can select from a variety of colleges and universities that offer superior programs in the most popular fields including medical degrees, nursing, psychology, social sciences, criminal justice, engineering, mathematics, biology and more. Below is a list of the best masters and doctorate college programs in Hawaii. Another option available to students is a master of business administration in Hawaii, learn more here.

University of Hawaii at Manoa
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
4,859
Graduation Rate
61%
Net Price
$15,441
Chaminade University of Honolulu
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
595
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$24,653
Hawaii Pacific University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
475
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$27,281
University of Hawaii at Hilo
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
554
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$14,338
Pacific Rim Christian University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
29
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$13,927
University of Phoenix-Hawaii
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
9
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
NA
Institute of Clinical Acupuncture & Oriental Med
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
56
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
NA

Best Online Degree Colleges in Hawaii (Distance Learning Only)


Several colleges and universities in Hawaii offer 100% online programs, including all of those on the following list The University of Hawai'i offers dozens of certificates through community colleges in the state, as well as a few online programs of their own at various UH locations. Some of the most popular online programs in Hawaii are nursing, economics, social work, special education, health and physical education, and library and information science.

Colorado Technical University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
27,232
Graduation Rate
26%
Net Price
$16,260
Purdue
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
38,138
Graduation Rate
27%
Net Price
NA
Southern New Hampshire University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
113,514
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$39,743
Western Governors University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
136,139
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$7,785
Capella University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
37,859
Graduation Rate
NA
Net Price
$17,368
Walden University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
48,420
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
NA

Cost of Hawaii College Education & Salaries


Education is a costly proposition. In fact, the vast majority of students must take out some sort of loan in order to complete their degrees in a timely fashion. While there are programs that help you work off your loan obligation by working in either the nonprofit or public sector, most will enter private businesses and thus need to start paying back their loans approximately six months after graduation.

When you start looking for colleges and universities for your bachelor's degree, try to remain in-state. However, if you find that the programs in Hawaii don't provide what you need, you should look to other states. When you look to the mainland, try to focus on public schools in the WICHE region that offer in-state tuition to students from other member states. For instance, you can attend college in California, Oregon, Washington, or Arizona for their standard in-state fees. Other states are part of the program, too.

There are other ways to reduce or contain costs, such as attending community colleges for your core courses, applying for scholarships or grants, and finding employers who provide tuition assistance. If you choose a community college, you might be able to graduate with an associate's degree in your chosen field that will allow you to work and gain experience while you complete a bachelor's degree. If you study accounting, for instance, you might be able to work part-time as a bookkeeper while completing an accounting or business degree.

Ultimately, your education will likely be costly but it is always worth it to pursue your dreams. Not only will you find personal fulfillment in your career, you will find that your salary more than makes up for any short-term financial sacrifices you must make. Any degree is a worthwhile investment in yourself and your future.

College Cost Analysis - Hawaii vs National


Average Hawaii Tuition & Fees at 4 Year Public Schools

In-State Tuition - $10,800

National – $10,000

Out-of-State – $20,772

National out-of-state – $25,600

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid – 63%

Financial Aid Received Federal Grants Average $ per Recipient
Hawaii 40% $12,602
Nationally 37.7% $10,927

Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a post-secondary institution.
* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Scholarships for Hawaii


NHSA

Native Hawaiian Scholarship ʻAha

Amount: Varies
Deadline: March 1
https://www.oha.org/scholarships
If you are a native Hawaiian and are headed to a school in the University of Hawaii system, there are approximately 200 scholarships available to outstanding students. To qualify, you must demonstrate financial need, have a minimum GPA of 2.0 if you are studying for a bachelor's degree and 3.0 if you are working towards a graduate degree. The scholarship committee gives priority to students studying STEM subjects, who are non-traditional students, first-generation college students, and to education majors – especially if you intend to teach a STEM subject.

UHS_logo

UHS

University of Hawaii Scholarships

Amount: Various
Deadline: March 1
https://www.hawaii.edu/tuition/scholarships/
There are a number of scholarships available to University of Hawaii students, including campus-specific scholarships, community college scholarships, system-wide scholarships, and five scholarships for the University Hawaii at Manoa. You can apply to them all with a single online application form.

HSFS_logo

HSFS

Hawaii Softball Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 (Up to 6 Awards)
Deadline: May 4
https://www.hawaiisoftballfoundation.org/news/apply-now-2018-scholarships
If you are a high school softball player, this is the scholarship for you. The Softball Foundation awards up to six $1,000 scholarships to student-athletes, and this number may indeed rise in the future. Soon, they may be able to help a whole team pay for books and tuition.

HASSP_logo

HASSP

Horatio Alger State Scholarship Program

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: August 1, October 25
https://scholars.horatioalger.org/about-our-scholarship-programs/state-scholarships/
This scholarship program is intended to help students who have overcome particular difficulty and obstacles in their youth. To help them achieve success and realize their dreams, the foundation awards $10,000 annual awards to qualifying students. To qualify, you must demonstrate financial need, be enrolled as a high school senior, display integrity and perseverance, maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and demonstrate your strong desire to achieve a bachelor's degree.

TTS_logo

TTS

The Takitani Scholarship

Amount: $2,000 (+ an additional $3,000 Award for the top applicants)
Deadline: Various (many deadlines, check website for details)
http://takitanifoundation.org/for-students/
If you are a high school senior with plans to attend college, this is a relatively easy scholarship to apply for. You’ll need to turn an application into your college counselor and be designated as your school’s selection for the award.

UTWNHS

UH Tuition Waivers for Native Hawaiian Students

Amount: The cost of up to 15 Credits
Deadline: N/A
https://hawaii.edu/kuaana/kua%CA%BBana-tuition-waiver/
If you are a native Hawaiian headed to the University of Hawaii – Maui College, you may qualify for tuition waivers. To apply, you must fill out a FAFSA form to demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in UH-Maui for half-time or greater. The fund can waive up to 15 credits per semester of lower division tuition at UH-Maui.