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Guide to Online Colleges in Hawaii

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Sources:

  • Authorized Schools, Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program, Accessed November 2018, http://cca.hawaii.gov/hpeap/authorized-schools/
  • BYU-Hawaii Online, https://online.byuh.edu/distance-students/degrees
  • Class Information for Spring 2016, Windward Community College, https://windward.hawaii.edu/Classes/index.php?list=Online
  • Distance Learning Programs offered at the University of Hawaii, http://www.hawaii.edu/dl/programs
  • Distance Learning Programs, University of Hawaii, https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/university-center/home/advising-sheets
  • Distance Learning, Kapiolani Community College, https://www.kapiolani.hawaii.edu/campus-life/student-services/distance-learning/
  • Fun things to do in Maui, Maui Goodness, http://www.mauigoodness.com/fun-things-to-do-in-maui/
  • Hawaii Community College, http://uhcc.hawaii.edu/distance/index.php
  • Hawaii County, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed November 2015, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#none
  • Hilo's Activities and Attractions, Love Big Island, http://www.lovebigisland.com/hilo/activities/
  • 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
  • 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
  • National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, accessed November 2015, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=HI&l=93&ct=3
  • Online Degrees and Certificate Programs, Leeward Community College, http://www.leeward.hawaii.edu/DE-programs
  • Programs of Study, Honolulu Community College, http://www.honolulu.hawaii.edu/programs
  • 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
  • University of Hawaii Maui College, http://maui.hawaii.edu/
  • University of Hawaii Manoa - Financial Aid Services, Accessed April 2017, http://www.hawaii.edu/fas/loans/other.php
  • University of Hawaii Hilo - Financial Aid, Accessed April 2017, https://hilo.hawaii.edu/financialaid/shel/shel_entrance_start.php
  • Hawaii DOE, Accessed April 2017, http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/CollegeAndCareerReadiness/ScholarshipsAndFinancialAid/Pages/home.aspx
  • 55 by '25, Accessed November 2018, http://www.55by25.org
  • Residency Requirements (condensed), University of Hawaii Hilo, Accessed November 2018, https://hilo.hawaii.edu/admissions/residency.php
  • Hawaii, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Accessed November 2018, https://www.wiche.edu/state-highlights/hawai'i
  • Regular Tuition Schedule, University of Hawaii Manoa, Accessed November 2018, http://www.catalog.hawaii.edu/tuitionfees/regtuition.htm
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Earning a degree through an online college in Hawaii can be a great option for many people, including those who are already in the workforce and those who are juggling other responsibilities like raising a family. Fortunately, there are a number of colleges that offer online degree programs at all levels in the Aloha State, so you can further your education regardless of which island you call home.

Here are some highlights:

  • Of the online colleges in Hawaii, 4 offer associate degree programs, 7 allow students to complete bachelor's degree programs, and 5 schools have designed master's degree programs.
  • 4 online colleges in Hawaii are considered public, while 4 are private, including one that is faith-based.
  • University of Phoenix-Hawaii and Chaminade University of Honolulu offer the most online degree programs in the state.

The state of Hawaii is eager for more of its residents to earn a college degree — whether through a traditional school or an online college. Its 55 by '25 program, which aims to have 55 percent of working-age adults earn a two- or four-year degree by the year 2025, offers resources to help students complete their degree programs.

If you'd like more information on the best or most affordable online colleges in Hawaii as well as details on scholarships available in the state and the State Higher Education Loan, keep reading. This page can help you select an online college while providing you with valuable financial aid resources.

What Makes a Good Online College?

Finding the right online college is not an easy task. However, the lists of the best online colleges in Hawaii on this page are meant to help. All of the schools displayed in our rankings are accredited by approved accrediting agencies, such as:

  • The Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • The WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • The Distance Education Accrediting Commission

To learn more about accreditation and why it matters, see our page "What is College Accreditation?" For more specific details on accreditation in Hawaii, check the Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program website.

The metrics used in our rankings of the best online schools in Hawaii include average in-state tuition, graduation rate and the average amount of financial aid awarded. We carefully choose our criteria in order to rate online colleges in Hawaii based on factors that are relevant to the online student experience, and we display data on each college in order to help students compare their options and make a well-informed decision. If you're curious why we chose these specific data points, take a look at the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page.

Best Online Colleges in Hawaii for 2018-19

Here for your use, we have created a list of the best online colleges in Hawaii, compiled using 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 best online colleges in Hawaii. And if you'd rather make a ranking of colleges based on your own needs, try our Top Colleges Tool.

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Methodology
1

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.
$24,514
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.
51%
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.
21
School Type
4-year

Both fully online and hybrid programs are available for students at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Options encompass numerous associate and bachelor's degrees, as well as a handful of master's programs. Because the university follows a Catholic tradition, it takes particular pride in its religious-based degree programs, such as a bachelor's in religious studies program and a master's in pastoral theology program. Other online programs include an MBA, a master's in criminal justice administration and a master's in counseling psychology.

If Chaminade students find themselves needing help with their online courses, they can simply head to the Smarthinking platform, an online tutoring program specifically geared toward Chaminade students. Through Smarthinking, students can set up 30-minute tutoring sessions and use virtual whiteboard technology to connect to them. The university also hosts an online writing lab, where online students can submit essays and academic papers for review.

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.
$24,550
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.
47%
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.
19
School Type
4-year

In 2014, Hawaii Pacific University rebranded its athletic teams from the Sea Warriors to the Sharks. Both names suit students of the university, who are encouraged to pursue and conquer their goals, even across great distances. After all, distance is little obstacle to online students, who can take advantage of multiple graduate degree programs offered online at HPU in subjects such as information systems, public health or social work.

Some of the university's programs use hybrid learning, meaning students complete some courses online but others on-campus. Other programs, such as the university's MBA program, are available in both a fully online format and 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.

Students can take a virtual tour of the school through the university's online information webinar series page, which could be useful to a student interested in a hybrid program. Prospective transfer students can also watch a "Transfer 101" webinar on the same page to learn the details of transferring.

3

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.
$7,440
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.
68%
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

Next on our list of best online colleges in Hawaii is the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, which takes several interesting approaches to distance education. First, the university does not offer undergraduate degree programs fully online. However, it does offer online courses for undergraduates through its online learning platform, called Laulima. Furthermore, students who have completed two years of coursework from a neighbor island community college in the UH system may be permitted to enroll in a distance learning bachelor's program.

That's not all, however. UH-West Oahu also allows graduate students who have completed their undergraduate coursework at either UH-West Oahu or a partnering UH community college to pursue online coursework in business administration, public administration, early childhood education, political science or psychology. The university also broadcasts some of its classes to neighboring islands through Interactive Television (ITV).

4

University of Hawaii-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.
$11,754
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.
16%
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.
8
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 multiple programs in which at least 50 percent of the content is provided remotely. This could be through interactive TV (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 (DNP) 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 exhibits and collections, such as an exhibit of Japanese graphic design images used in advertisements from the 1920s.

5

University of Hawaii-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.
$7,648
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%
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.
2
School Type
4-year

Online courses offered through the University of Hawaii-Hilo offer students on (or off!) the Big Island the opportunity to access their education from a distance. 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 help teachers learn how to teach at elementary schools with a strong cultural background.

Prospective learners at UH-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.

6

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.
$3,084
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%
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, located in Pearl City, is expanding its offerings to include online programs that can help students to earn a variety of degrees and certificates, many in business areas such as accounting or management foundations. The college is also hosting programs that are online except for a single course that requires on-campus attendance, as well as hybrid-format programs 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.

Affordable Online Colleges in Hawaii for 2018-19

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.

  • School Type - 2 Years
  • School Type - 4 Years
  • 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 WEBSITE
    Leeward Community College$3,08448%4leeward.hawaii.edu
  • 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 WEBSITE
    University of Hawaii-West Oahu$7,44068%3uhwo.hawaii.edu
    University of Hawaii at Hilo$7,64831%2hilo.hawaii.edu
    University of Hawaii at Manoa$11,75416%8manoa.hawaii.edu
    Chaminade University of Honolulu$24,51451%21chaminade.edu
    Hawaii Pacific University$24,55047%19hpu.edu

Financial Aid Resources in Hawaii

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Hawaii?

1.Hawaii High School Athletic Association Hall of ...
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be graduating high school seniors and athletes in any organized sport in Hawaii. Selection is based primarily on sports achievements. Factors considered include contributions to the team, sportsmanship, character, participation in school activities and community involvement.
Award Amount
$2,000
Application Deadline
May 6
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.Harry H. Collins Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be a resident of Hawaii, full-time undergraduate, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate financial need.
Award Amount
$500
Application Deadline
January 5
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
3.Leora Parmalee Dean Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be a resident of Hawaii, be a full-time undergraduate, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate financial need.
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
January 5
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
4.Kumazo and Yaeko Oda Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be born in and be a resident of Hawaii (minimum four years of residency are required), have graduated from a high school in the state, and be registered to vote there as well. Minimum 2.0 GPA and financial need required.
Award Amount
$500
Application Deadline
January 5
Renewable
Award is renewable for up to a total of three years.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL

Student Loans in Hawaii

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

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Hawaii

Hawaii has a reputation for being expensive, and out-of-state students will pay more than residents for their degree programs. Still, don't give up on your dream of studying in the Aloha State. If you live in one of 16 Western states and territories, you could get a significant discount on out-of-state tuition thanks to the Western Undergraduate Exchange, or WUE.

Students from eligible areas can access a reduced non-resident rate should they be studying a program not available in their home state. Under WUE, student pay no more than 150 percent of the in-state tuition rate at participating schools. For 2017-2018, Hawaii received 2,600 out-of-state students through the program.

Out-of-state tuition waivers may also be available to students who meet certain classifications such as:

  • Military members stationed in Hawaii along with their dependents
  • Members of the Hawaii National Guard
  • University employees, their spouses and dependents
  • Native Hawaiians
  • Residents of certain Pacific Islands

Online non-resident students may also pay the same per credit hour rate as in-state students at some institutions. Plus, scholarships and grants are available for in-state and out-of-state students alike.

Talk to a financial aid counselor about how you can reduce out-of-state tuition for Hawaiian schools. You can also learn more about WUE and similar programs for graduate students at the following links:

 
Article Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1% of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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