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Online Colleges in Hawaii

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. BYU-Hawaii Online, https://online.byuh.edu/distance-students/degrees
  2. Class Information for Spring 2016, Windward Community College, https://windward.hawaii.edu/Classes/index.php?list=Online
  3. Distance Learning Programs offered at the University of Hawaii, http://www.hawaii.edu/dl/programs
  4. Distance Learning Programs, University of Hawaii, https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/university-center/home/advising-sheets
  5. Distance Learning, Kapiolani Community College, https://www.kapiolani.hawaii.edu/campus-life/student-services/distance-learning/
  6. Fun things to do in Maui, Maui Goodness, http://www.mauigoodness.com/fun-things-to-do-in-maui/
  7. Hawaii Community College, http://uhcc.hawaii.edu/distance/index.php
  8. Hawaii County, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed November 2015, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#none
  9. Hilo's Activities and Attractions, Love Big Island, http://www.lovebigisland.com/hilo/activities/
  10. May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed November 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm
  11. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Hawaii, Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed November 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_hi.htm
  12. National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, accessed November 2015, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=HI&l=93&ct=3
  13. Online Degrees and Certificate Programs, Leeward Community College, http://www.leeward.hawaii.edu/DE-programs
  14. Programs of Study, Honolulu Community College, http://www.honolulu.hawaii.edu/programs
  15. Things to do in Honolulu, Go Hawaii, http://www.gohawaii.com/en/oahu/plan-a-trip/activities/things-to-do-honolulu/#customOrder:random^newCustomSearch:false
  16. University of Hawaii Maui College, http://maui.hawaii.edu/
  17. University of Hawaii Manoa - Financial Aid Services, Accessed April 2017, http://www.hawaii.edu/fas/loans/other.php
  18. University of Hawaii Hilo - Financial Aid, Accessed April 2017, https://hilo.hawaii.edu/financialaid/shel/shel_entrance_start.php
  19. Hawaii DOE, Accessed April 2017, http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/CollegeAndCareerReadiness/ScholarshipsAndFinancialAid/Pages/home.aspx
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Tropical living, inviting luaus, delicious seafood and lush coast lines all make Hawaii a unique place to live -- and study -- but the attractions of its near 11,000-plus square miles hardly stop there. Obviously, there are sundry reasons that more than 6 million people visit the state each year. Think about the trails to hike, the cultural events to experience and even the water activities to enjoy. Education also is important too, with higher education opportunities and online programs available across the island chain.

In the Aloha State, the public higher education system includes one research university, two baccalaureate colleges, seven community colleges and five education centers. In fact, the university system has prioritized linking all of its campuses and centers together through a networked system to make distance learning more accessible. Online degrees and courses are available through the entire University of Hawaii system, but sometimes cable viewing and interactive television are used to deliver distance-learning education. These distance-learning programs are particularly focused on high-need employment areas in the state, such as allied heath, education and nursing.

Online programs in Hawaii are available through more than just the public system of higher education, however. Private, vocational and non-profit schools also provide online programs and certificates that may help students to pursue careers in high-demand fields or even in unique areas of study.

Best Online Colleges in Hawaii

Here for your use, we have created a list of the best online colleges in Hawaii, compiled using 2015-16 data from the National Center for Education Statistics that we analyzed with our proprietary methodology (details at the bottom of this page). Find out the typical in-state tuition, the percentage of students enrolled in online education, each school's information on distance learning and more as you peruse our ranking of the 10 best online colleges in Hawaii.

1

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,100
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.90%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1
School Type
4-year

Students enrolled in Brigham Young University (BYU)-Hawaii, in Laie, can take online courses in subjects as diverse as American sign language, communications, history, psychology, religion and sociology. The school also emphasizes its distance-based English as an International Language (EIL) courses, which help international students prepare to attend an English-based university, including that of BYU. Reading, writing and speaking/ listening courses are all part of BYU's EIL program.

Students at Brigham Young University-Hawaii use the Canvas-based learning platform to participate in online course offerings. More than two dozen courses are available online. The Student Help Center provides instructions for completing written assignments, participating in discussions and checking grades in Canvas. Though the university has an online associate degree program in general education, this program is currently on hold as of winter 2016. If this was the program you were hoping to enroll in, keep in contact with BYU to see if it is going to become available anytime soon.

2

Hawaii Pacific University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$22,440
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
52.02%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28
School Type
4-year

Students of Hawaii Pacific University, in Honolulu, can find many different graduate level degrees available online, including in information systems, public health, social work and others. Some of the degrees through the university use hybrid learning, meaning students complete some courses online but others on-campus. However, because the university's MBA program is fully online, it is open to students throughout the world. Students interested in the school's MBA program also can opt for a hybrid format. Courses in the MBA program are taken one at a time, in an eight-week format, no matter what delivery option is chosen.

A virtual tour of the school, through the university's online information webinar series page, is also available and could be helpful to student interested in a hybrid program. Prospective transfer students also can enroll to watch a "Transfer 101" webinar on the same page, too, to learn the details of transferring. Of note, several years ago, the school rebranded its athletic teams from the Sea Warriors to the Sharks.

3

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$21,780
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48.42%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
20
School Type
4-year

More than 20 degree programs are offered online, either fully or through a hybrid format, at Chaminade University of Honolulu. These programs encompass numerous associate and bachelor's degrees, as well as a handful of master's programs. An associate degree in liberal arts, a bachelor's degree in religious studies and a master's degree in pastoral theology all can be completed online. Because the university follows a Catholic tradition, religious-based degrees are among its offering.

Other programs available online include an MBA, a master's in criminal justice administration degree and a master's in counseling psychology degree. When students need help with their online courses, they can simply head to the Smarthinking platform, an online tutoring program specifically geared toward Chaminade students. Through this, students can set up a 30-minute tutoring session with the tutor of their choice, and use virtual whiteboard technology to connect. The university's online writing lab also allows online students to submit papers for review.

4

Leeward Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,935
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42.00%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
4
School Type
2-year

Leeward Community College, in Pearl City, is expanding its program offerings to include completely online programs for more than a dozen degrees and certificates, many in business areas like accounting or management foundations. The college also offers programs that are online except for a single course that requires on-campus attendance, as well as sundry other programs that follow a hybrid format where at least 50 percent of the courses are offered online.

The university's iLearn webpage offers numerous resources for students interested in online education at Leeward. This includes distance-learning guides, tips for being a successful online learner, and distance resources such as counseling, the help desk and the library. Since its founding in 1968, the university has provided more than 3.6 million credit hours of instruction to enrolled students, many of whom have gone on to transfer to one of the nearby four-year schools.

5

University of Hawaii-West Oahu

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,152
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
68.02%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
3
School Type
4-year

Fifth on our list of best online colleges in Hawaii is the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, which offers distance learning courses for students to complete as part of a certificate or bachelor's degree program. The university, in Kapolei, offers an online learning platform as well as interactive television (iTV) for distance learners. Distance-learning programs include, but are not limited to, a certificate in disaster preparedness and emergency management, a bachelor's degree in public administration and a bachelor's degree in psychology.

The distance education branch of the school offers tips and blog posts for distance learners, including what it means to enroll for a course that has been "gamified." An online video can help distance learners understand how to use the college's online learning platform, called Laulima. Online students even have free use of and access to Google Drive for storing their academic documents. The university welcomes any students into its programs who have completed the first two years of undergraduate work at a community college within the state public higher education system.

6

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$11,164
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
13.33%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
13
School Type
4-year

Students enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa can opt for distance learning programs in several bachelor's, master's and even doctoral programs. The university, located in the valley of Manoa in Honolulu, offers more than a dozen programs in which at least 50 percent of the content is provided online. This could be through iTV or another technology medium, like the online Laulima learning platform. Options include a bachelor's in computer science, a master's in social work and a Doctor in Nursing Practice program, to name just a few.

When it comes to resources, students can utilize the university's online bookstore, which features electronic textbooks and other publications, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, which offers access to streamed videos assigned by professors. The library even provides information online about its newest exhibits and collections, one of which includes an assortment of Japanese graphic design images used in advertisements from the 1920s.

7

Windward Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,920
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
43.07%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
2-year

Located in Kaneohe, Windward Community College is a school with a mission, and it encapsulates that mission within five core values. These values include striving for excellence and caring for the state and planet. Online students also are cared for at the college, and can find numerous services available to them to help with their education. Computer support, access to the school's library and access to learning guides with Laulima, the college's online learning platform, are among the benefits.

Students can take online courses specifically through Windward Community College or enroll for courses available through the University of Hawaii System by using MyUH. Online classes can be taken in fields as diverse as history, computer science, pharmacology and psychology. Students at Windward Community College can even opt for unique online courses, such as the History of Hawaii and Themes in Popular Culture: The Zombie Apocalypse. To learn more about the college, take a look at the school's newspaper, Ka 'Ohana, which also is available online.

8

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,332
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24.50%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
3
School Type
4-year

More than 200 online courses are offered through the University of Hawaii at Hilo, giving students on the Big Island or elsewhere the opportunity to access distance learning. Some of the online options available through this institute include an RN-to-BSN nursing program, a master's in education program and a Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP) program. An indigenous teaching program is also available via videoconferencing, designed to prepare teachers to instruct in elementary school programs with a strong cultural background.

Prospective learners at the University of Hawaii at Hilo can take the school's online learning readiness quiz to see if they are prepared for distance learning; put a call in to student affairs to learn more about advising, disabilities services or financial services; or receive assistance from the university's helpdesk with their online coursework. Distance learners who still want to become involved with their school in person can head to the vividly red-roofed campus to check out a Vulcan athletic game.

9

Hawaii Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,940
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
41.89%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
2-year

At Hawaii Community College (HaCC), another high-quality institute located in Hilo, students enrolled in distance learning can take classes via an online platform, with cable television or through interactive television (iTV). Online learning is made available through the Laulima learning platform, used throughout the entire University of Hawaii system. There are no particular computer requirements for enrolling in online education, but the school's Information Technology Services Website does have suggested recommendations for students' computer hardware.

Students can register for an online course specifically through the college, or through any of the six other University of Hawaii community college campuses, which all offer online coursework through a connected system. Students who have questions can head online for an instant chat or take advantage of the free online tutoring offered through Brainfuse. Before enrolling, an online video on the college's home page can help students to determine if distance learning could be right for them, and after enrolling, any student having trouble with the Laulima system can find many tutorials and help videos to assist them.

10

Kauai Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,988
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17.56%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
2-year

One-hour student orientations are offered at Kauai Community College, in Lihue, to help students learn more about its distance learning opportunities, including online programs. Students at the college have access to online certificates, bachelor's and even master's degrees programs through the University Center, the hub of distance learning for Kauai Community College. All of Kauai's programs are made available through other University of Hawaii schools, but their online format eliminates the need to actually commute to those campuses.

Programs can be found in accounting, political science, sociology and other subjects, but individual courses can be taken online, too, in fields such as art, communication and kinesiology. Students who need help with any of their classes can take advantage of online tutoring offered through Brainfuse, or use Google Chat to connect with online tutors.

Affordable Online Colleges in Hawaii

The cost of living in Hawaii might have a reputation for being high, but earning a degree can still be affordable. Here are some of the most affordable colleges offering online education in the state, arranged according to their in-state tuition (as reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS).

To create your own list of online colleges in Hawaii ranked by factors of your choosing, please check out our Top Colleges Tool.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Hawaii

Read on to learn more about the most affordable two-year online colleges in Hawaii.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Leeward Community College$2,93542.00%42-year

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Hawaii

Here are a few of the most affordable four-year online colleges and universities in Hawaii.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Brigham Young University-Hawaii$5,10031.90%14-year
University of Hawaii-West Oahu$7,15268.02%34-year
University of Hawaii at Hilo$7,33224.50%34-year
University of Phoenix-Hawaii$10,925N/A264-year
University of Hawaii at Manoa$11,16413.33%134-year

College Accreditation in Hawaii

While searching for the right degree program, don't overlook the importance of checking a college or university's accreditation. Depending on the field of study, several organizations may accredit a program. What's more, certain types of schools (such as faith-based colleges) have their own accreditation programs as well.

However, the most important type of accreditation to check for is that from a regional accrediting body. The Department of Education recognizes seven regional accrediting bodies, and these are often considered the gold standard of college accreditation. In Hawaii, look for accreditation from one of the following bodies:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

If a college in Hawaii doesn't have this accreditation, double check its credentials. Some schools may boast of accreditation from bodies that aren't actually recognized by the government.

Financial Aid in Hawaii

Hawaii Loans

Hawaii's only state-specific loan offered is the State Higher Education Loan, otherwise known as SHEL. The state places a strong importance on educating students about loan management by requiring entrance and exit counseling sessions for all students who are awarded this loan. Be sure to look into scholarships and grants to meet your financial needs before applying for federal, state or private loans, since scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back. If you do find that you need additional funds, the loan below may be right for you.

This loan is awarded to Hawaii residents who demonstrate financial need. Whether an undergraduate or graduate, the student must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree-seeking program in order to qualify. Students will also be required to complete an entrance counseling session to assist them in managing their loans before the loan is awarded to them.

  • Application deadline:  Not specified
  • Award amount:  Not specified

Learn more about the student loan process in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Hawaii

Featured Cities in Hawaii

Below, you will find information about two prominent metropolitan areas in Hawaii. Data courtesy of the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Urban Honolulu, HI Metro Area

Total Population

984,178

Median salary for high school grads

$31,565

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$48,782

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

33.1%

Median rent

$1,569

Fun Facts

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is close to all the outdoor activities Hawaiians and vacationers enjoy — snorkeling, surfing, hiking and beachcombing — as well as the big city attractions of museums and historical sites. After they've taken their surfing lesson or attended their first luau, many visitors also like to visit Pearl Harbor and Iolani Palace to get their history fix.

Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI Metro Area

Total Population

160,948

Median salary for high school grads

$31,180

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$41,951

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

21%

Median rent

$1,287

Fun Facts

Maui's climate ranges from sunny beaches to brisk and chilly mountainous landscapes, and this diversity of weather gives Maui a sense of being much larger than it really is. However, everything from the big waves on the breezy, wet east side of the island to the gentle surf along the west side is all within a short drive. When you tire of the beaches, you can visit wineries or hike along the volcano rim at 10,000 feet above sea level.

 
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