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 $11,000 in tuition and fees in the 2021-22 school year.


    The average undergraduate student in the United States received $14,800 in financial aid in the 2020-21 school year, which is used toward costs such as tuition, technology fees, housing, and textbooks.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar schools in Hawaii. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by either the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) or Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). These reputable organizations examine the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of post-secondary education programs.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for on-campus students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Colleges in Hawaii

Best Colleges In Hawaii
Intelligent Pick
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Most Affordable
Brigham Young University–Hawaii
Best Public Institution
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Best Catholic Institution
Chaminade University of Honolulu
Best Online Programs
University of Hawaii at West Oahu
Best for Veterans
Hawaii Pacific University
Best Associate Degrees
University of Hawaii Maui College
Best Faith-Based Institution
Pacific Rim Christian University


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; leisure and hospitality; education and health services; and professional and business services.

There are approximately 100 occupations for those with undergraduate degrees in Hawaii that are projected to experience significant growth between 2020 and 2030. The top five fastest-growing occupations in Hawaii include film and video editors, event planners, producers and directors, information security analysts, and market research analysts.

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  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.