This list features some of the best online 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 WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accredits many of these colleges, which ensures that your online education meets the highest academic standards. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has been promoting the development of higher education in the western region since 1962.
We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.
Online College Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Hawaii
Does Hawaii have good online colleges and universities?
Hawaii’s online college and university offerings are limited compared to those of other states. Only one university in Hawaii offers an online bachelor’s degree option, and only one offers an online graduate degree option. That said, Hawaii’s community and technical colleges have extensive online courses, certificates, and degree options, including distance learning initiatives at Hawaii Community College.
Given the relatively limited number of programs available in Hawaii, you may want to check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges in the entire United States. In addition to showing you the country’s top 30 schools for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.
Do online college credits in Hawaii cost more than in-person classes?
The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Compared to other states, Hawaii’s online tuition fees are relatively expensive, especially considering that its online programs are not ranked particularly highly.
Why should you choose Hawaii for online higher education?
Hawaii could be a good choice for online higher education if you want to take flexible yet rigorous community college classes, you’re interested in a bachelor’s degree at Chaminade University of Honolulu, or you want to earn one of the graduate degrees offered by Hawaii Pacific University.
The Cost of Online College in Hawaii
How much does an online degree in Hawaii cost?
The cost of an online degree in Hawaii depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate courses are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.
Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.
To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Hawaii below. Note that there is only one university in Hawaii that offers an online bachelor’s degree.
- Most affordable online college in Hawaii: Chaminade University of Honolulu, $585 per credit
Source: Education Data Initiative
How long do you have to live in Hawaii to get in-state tuition rates?
Establishing Hawaii residency typically requires you to have resided in Hawaii for at least 12 months prior to declaring Hawaii residency. You must also prove legal and physical ties to the state by, for instance, changing your driver’s license and voter registration, owning property or paying rent, paying utilities in the state, etc. Beyond that, you need to prove you are in the state for a reason other than education.
Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Hawaii?
Hawaii offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which enables online students from the western U.S. who attend college outside their home state to pay a flat tuition rate equivalent to 150% of their school’s in-state tuition. This can end up saving you thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands of dollars, on your degree.
The University of Hawaii state college and university system, which includes Hawaii Community College, offers numerous state- and institution-funded grants and scholarships at the associate and bachelor’s degree levels, some of which offset the entire cost of tuition.
You should also fill out the FAFSA application, which will show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.
College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Hawaii
In addition to the WICHE reciprocity agreements and University of Hawaii system grants, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:
Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation
This scholarship program awards $20,000 over the course of four years to college students from Hawaii who are studying business or a related field. The scholarship foundation was founded in 1950 and awards over $180,000 in funding to Hawaiian students every year.
Who’s eligible? Students from Hawaii who are majoring in business or a related field.
Contact information: Online form
Hawai’i Community Foundation Grants and Scholarships
HCF has a centralized grant and scholarship application system that matches you with relevant sources of funding for college. The Foundation awards $7 million annually to deserving students, with an average aid award of more than $6,000 per student.
Who’s eligible? Hawaii residents who demonstrate financial need, are enrolled full-time in an accredited two- or four-year institution, and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.
Contact information: [email protected] | 808-566-5570
Hawaii Education Association Scholarships
HEA offers a range of scholarships for students who want to become teachers in Hawaii. Scholarships tend to be $1,000-$2,000 per student.
Who’s eligible? Requirements vary by scholarship, but most are open to students attending a Hawaii university who are intending to teach at a public school in Hawaii.
Contact information: [email protected] | 808-949-6657
R.W. "Bob" Holden Scholarship
Offered by the Hawai’i Lodging and Tourism Association and administered by the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, this scholarship awards funding to Hawaii residents who are pursuing a degree in hotel management or a related field.
Who’s eligible? Hawaii residents enrolled in an eligible hotel management degree program who maintain an average GPA of at least 3.0.
Contact information: [email protected] | 808-923-0407
Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Hawaii
If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Hawaii can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.
By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Hawaii:
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, they keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, these security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $112,150 in Hawaii.
- Growth: 38.1%
- Degree options: Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity, Bachelor’s in Computer Science, Bachelor’s in Engineering, Bachelor’s in Mathematics, Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering, Master’s in Cybersecurity, Master’s in Computer Science, Master’s in Engineering, Master’s in Mathematics, Master’s in Computer Engineering
Physician assistants (PAs) are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still tend to make six-figure salaries. The average annual PA salary in Hawaii is $106,960.
- Growth: 32.3%
- Degree options: Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies
Personal Care Aides
As Hawaii’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of personal care aides to assist patients, often older adults or disabled people, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. In Hawaii, personal care aides make an average annual salary of $32,690.
- Growth: 32.1%
- Degree options: Certificate in Personal Care Aide, Associate in Medical Assisting
Physical therapists (PTs) help patients restore optimal movement and mobility through exercises, hands-on treatment, and education. They work everywhere from hospitals and nursing homes to schools and private homes. In Hawaii, PTs earn an average annual salary of $100,130.
- Growth: 25.7%
- Degree options: Doctor of Physical Therapy
Substance Use Disorder, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Hawaii, like most states in the U.S., is experiencing a mental health and substance use disorder epidemic. The state sees a growing need to provide more professional support around addiction, behavioral issues, and mental health. In Hawaii, counselors in this field earn an average salary of $66,610.
- Growth: 25%
- Degree options: Bachelor’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Bachelor’s in Psychology, Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, Master’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Master’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling