- University of Hawaii System, Accessed June 2017, http://www.hawaii.edu/
- Authorized Schools, Hawaii Post-secondary Education Authorization Program, Accessed June http://cca.hawaii.gov/hpeap/authorized-schools/
- About BYU-Hawaii, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Accessed June 2017, http://about.byuh.edu/
- About UH Manoa, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Accessed June 2017, https://manoa.hawaii.edu/about/
- About UHWO, University of Hawaii - West Oahu, Accessed June 2017, http://www.uhwo.hawaii.edu/about-us/
- UH Hilo at a Glance, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Accessed June 2017, https://hilo.hawaii.edu/prospective/glance.php
- Hawaii Pacific University, Accessed June 2017, https://www.hpu.edu/#study
- About Us, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Accessed June 2017, http://www.chaminade.edu/about/about-chaminade-university
- Hawaii Campus, University of Phoenix, Accessed June 2017, http://www.phoenix.edu/campus-locations/hi/hawaii-campus/hawaii-campus.html
- Scholarships, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Accessed June 2017, http://www.oha.org/scholarships
- Financial Aid Programs, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Accessed June 2017, https://hilo.hawaii.edu/financialaid/programs.php#state
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
Whether you already live in Hawaii or dream of studying in paradise, you'll be happy to learn the island state has several high-quality education options. Among the choices are a robust public university system and private schools that let people learn on campus or earn an online bachelor's degree in Hawaii.
The University of Hawaii System is comprised of all the state's public institutions of higher education. These include three universities and seven community colleges and learning centers spread across four islands. Students who choose to start their studies at a community college can often easily transfer credits to a university thanks to articulation agreements between the institutions.
In addition to public schools, several private colleges and universities are authorized by the Hawaii Post-secondary Education Authorization Program. Among these are institutions with campuses in the state as well as schools based elsewhere but approved to award online Hawaii degrees.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Hawaii
Hawaii's seven main four-year colleges include both public and private institutions. Here's how they rank based on a methodology that analyzes metrics such as tuition, distance education options and graduation rates.
Brigham Young University may be best known for its main campus in Utah, but it operates in Hawaii as well. Owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the school brings together more than 2,700 students from 70 countries. It has five colleges and uses a learning framework intended to help students "prepare, engage and improve."
BYU-Hawaii rises to the top of these rankings for many reasons. It has the best tuition and fees among Hawaii schools and offers the most institutional grant aid as a percentage of its tuition and fees. Its students graduate with the lowest median debt and have the second best three-year repayment rate in the state. What's more, Brigham Young University - Hawaii ranks first for its retention rate and second for its graduation rate.
The university has its campus in Laie on the island of Oahu.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa ranks highest among the three four-year schools within the University of Hawaii System. It is also the flagship institution within the system and enrolled nearly 19,000 students in 2015.
Founded in 1907, UH Manoa has a strong record of fostering academic success. The university has the best graduation rate and the second best retention rate in Hawaii. What's more, the University of Hawaii at Manoa offers more academic programs than any other school surveyed. It has more than 220 undergraduate and graduate programs available through its 14 colleges and schools. While the university offers all the state's most popular degree programs, it awarded more bachelor's degrees in registered nursing than in any other field in 2015.
UH Manoa has its campus in Manoa Valley, outside Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
The University Hawaii - West Oahu ranks second among the University of Hawaii System schools and third overall in the state. It is particularly notable for being one of the best online colleges for Hawaii and offers more programs via distance education than any other school surveyed.
UHWO was founded in 1976 to provide a baccalaureate education to residents on the fast-growing side of Oahu Island. With 67 percent of students coming from the Leeward district of Oahu, the University of Hawaii - West Oahu has a particular focus on serving indigenous students. While there is an emphasis on Native Hawaiian culture, students from all backgrounds are welcome.
Although the school's campus is in Kapolei, students from all over can earn an online bachelor's degree in Hawaii through its distance education programs. These allow those with an associate degree equivalent education to finish their upper division credits online.
The University of Hawaii at Hilo is the final four-year school within the University of Hawaii System. The school got its start as an outreach program of UH Manoa in 1947. By 1970, it became its own separate institution. Today it enrolls nearly 4,000 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
UH Hilo represents a good choice for students seeking affordable degree programs. The university ranks third for the sticker price of its tuition and fees and second for its average net price. It is also generous with its financial aid, coming in third for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
For students on the island of Hawaii, also known as the big island, the University of Hawaii at Hilo is the only public higher education institution available.
Offering more than 50 degree programs, Hawaii Pacific University pulls students from all 50 states and 65 countries. The school was first chartered in 1965 and subsequently merged with several other institutions to become what it says is the leading private, nonprofit university in the state.
HPU is second only to UH Manoa in terms of the number of total academic programs it offers. It also ranks first for the number of programs offered via distance education, making it one of the best online colleges for Hawaii. More than 50 percent of its student body was enrolled in a distance education class in 2015. Hawaii Pacific University also does a good job of helping its students graduate on time, and it has the third best graduation rate in Hawaii.
Hawaii Pacific University has its campus in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
Nearly 2,500 students were enrolled in Chaminade University of Honolulu in 2015. The private school is the only Catholic university in Hawaii and one of three higher education institutions in the country affiliated with the Marianist religious order.
Its campus dates back to 1928 when it housed the Saint Louis School. In 1955, the St. Louis Junior College was founded and that would go on to eventually become Chaminade University of Honolulu. Today, the school is known for its flexible learning environment. Online, night and weekend courses are available. Remedial support, academic counseling and career placement services are also offered. Among Hawaii colleges and universities, Chaminade has the third best retention rate and the fourth best graduation rate.
Chaminade University of Honolulu has its campus on the island of Oahu.
Students interested in online Hawaii degree programs will find plenty of options at the University of Phoenix. The school, with locations nationwide, is best known for its focus on distance education, and it ranks second in the state for the number of online degree programs offered.
Undergraduate and graduate degree programs across eight subject areas are available. These include popular choices such as accounting and nursing. However, in 2015, the University of Phoenix - Hawaii awarded more bachelor's degrees in business administration than in any other major. The school's flexible learning options — including night and weekend classes and credit for life experiences — make it a top choice for non-traditional students.
Those who would prefer to learn in a classroom rather than online can take courses through the University of Phoenix - Hawaii at its Honolulu campus.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Hawaii
In terms of sheer numbers, students enrolled in these particular programs at the highest rates. These courses of study are likely to reflect not only the industries supporting the state's economy, but also fields connected to potential career paths nationwide.
In-Demand Careers in Hawaii
Those hoping to land a job in Hawaii after graduation should consider choosing a degree that may lead to one of the following in-demand careers.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Home Health Aides||32.9%||4,200||$26,590|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||28.7%||290||$42,400|
|Interpreters and Translators||28.1%||150||$42,760|
|Operations Research Analysts||26.7%||320||$70,620|
|Forensic Science Technicians||25.4%||60||$53,040|
|Food and Tobacco Roasting, Baking, and Drying Machine Operators and Tenders||24.5%||120||$32,630|
|Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters||22.9%||70||$34,360|
|Personal Financial Advisors||22.7%||460||$79,610|
|Solar Photovoltaic Installers||22.6%||150||$52,950|
|Physical Therapist Aides||21.5%||190||$27,620|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanics||21.5%||710||$59,480|
|Computer Systems Analysts||20.3%||1,190||$78,340|
|Personal Care Aides||20.3%||3,940||$24,910|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary||19.8%||40||$52,900|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||19.8%||170||$75,720|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||19.8%||500||$72,200|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||19.2%||370||$81,900|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||18.5%||370||$42,760|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||18.4%||730||$93,000|
|Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians||18.4%||230||$61,130|
|Software Developers, Applications||18.1%||790||$85,550|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||17.9%||270||$75,440|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Hawaii
Students in Hawaii have access to both federal and state financial aid programs. At the state level, there are need-based and merit-based awards available. These are granted through programs such as the Hawaii State Incentive Grant, Hawaii B Plus Scholarship Program and the Hawaii State Need-Based Opportunity Grant. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs also maintains a number of scholarship programs for students of Hawaiian ancestry.
November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.
February 1 (fall); October 1 (spring)
Renewable for four years.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.4 university GPA and completes 30 university semester hours per academic year.
- University of Hawaii System
- University of Hawaii System Transfer
- Hawaii Post-secondary Education Authorization Program
- Hawaii State Department of Education