Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, there are nine colleges in Hawaii, including four publicly funded colleges, four private non-profit institutions, and one private for-profit option.


    College Board discloses that the average undergraduate student in Hawaii paid $10,990 in tuition and fees in the 2020-21 school year.


    The average undergraduate student in the United States received $14,940 in financial aid in the 2020-21 school year, which is used toward costs such as tuition, technology fees, housing, and textbooks.

Our Research

We’ve compiled a list of the top colleges and universities in Hawaii, with schools ranging in size from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities. Some factors that we considered include the number of credits needed to graduate, the cost of tuition, and learning formats.

Our list only features accredited schools. Accreditation ensures that a school meets certain standards and is a requirement for accessing financial aid. Most of these colleges are accredited through the WASC Senior College and University Commission, an agency that encourages financial and academic integrity and continuous improvement among schools in Hawaii, California, and the Pacific.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 59 hours to write this article
  • 53 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 192 education programs we compared

The Top 7 Colleges in Hawaii

Best Colleges In Hawaii
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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Hawaii

Before opting for a college in Hawaii, it’s important to consider whether the most popular industries in the state are compatible with your planned field of study. In Hawaii, the five most dominant industries include government; trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; retail trade; and professional and business services.

There are approximately 120 occupations for those with undergraduate degrees in Hawaii that are projected to experience significant growth between 2016 and 2026. The top five fastest-growing occupations in Hawaii include software developers, athletic trainers, information security analysts, operations research analysts, and religious workers.

Hawaii is home to several large corporations that employ the majority of people in the state. With approximately 10,000 employees, Altres Industrial is the largest employer. Other large employers include Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, Bank of Hawaii, Aloha Air Cargo, and the Hawaii State Police Department. A full list of the top 50 employers in Hawaii can be found here.

What’s Next?

Going to college in Hawaii is a big investment, but there are several resources available to help you obtain financial assistance to pay for your education. The following resources provide information and access to grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs to help fund your education.

  • Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP). HPEAP provides oversight for colleges in Hawaii and helps students connect with federal and state programs to help them pay for their degrees. The program also enables students to submit their high school transcripts online.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA is an application that students submit to determine their eligibility for need-based loans, grants, and scholarships. To determine whether you’re eligible to submit a FAFSA application, follow this link. To fill out an application online, click here.
  • CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides robust information on financial aid in Hawaii. You can customize your search results depending on your level of study and where you intend to pursue your degree. Then, you will receive relevant information regarding available loans, grants, and scholarships.