Many of Hawaii’s colleges and universities boast a strong web presence, offering a range of bachelor’s degrees entirely online. These schools provide a convenient and first-class learning environment to distance learners. Hawaii Pacific recently added three new programs entirely online, while the University of Hawaii’s system provides a mix of fully online programs and courses.
But before we dive into our list of the best online colleges in Hawaii for 2017, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Hawaii today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Hawaii
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Hawaii had 21 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 10 public schools, 7 nonprofits and 4 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 4,236 at public schools, 1,928 at private nonprofits and 199 at private for-profits.
- 10 public
- 7 non-profit
- 4 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $10,170, while the out-of-state average was $28,780.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Hawaii awarded $3.78 million in need-based grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up only 0.7% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. The state also awarded $582,000 in loans over the same period.
The Lumina Foundation reported that, as of the 2013 Census, 44.3% working-age Hawaiians, the equivalent of 740,000 people, held either a two or four-year degree ― an increase of nearly 2% from the previous year. This sits well over the national average of 40%. With such a well-educated populace, reasonable tuition and the obvious draw of its tropical locale, Hawaii’s education system should see stable, moderate improvements over the next several years.
The State of Online Higher Education in Hawaii
The NCES estimates that at least 11% of students enrolled in Hawaii’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 89.2% were reported to be undergraduates and 84.9% were found to be living in Hawaii.
As we mentioned above, Hawaii’s premier distance opportunities come by way of the state school system; the service is called Distance Learning at the University of Hawaii. The system combines the offerings of four schools, three UH branches and one community college. The directory of courses semester to semester features dozens of programs, from certificates and two-year degrees to bachelor’s, master’s and even two doctoral programs ― all offered fully online.
Hawaii is also part of the SARA regional education compact known as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The WICHE Internet Course Exchange (ICE) offers opportunities for state residents, through their local college or university, to access high quality distance programs offered at out-of-state WICHE institutions, often at greatly reduced rates.
Best Online Colleges in Hawaii
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Hawaii. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Hawaii, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Hawaii or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||University of Hawaii at Manoa||Honolulu||$$$$$||2500 Campus Road, Hawaii Hall|
Honolulu, HI 96822-2217
Reputed for its research opportunities and Division I athletics, the University of Hawaii at Manoa's nearly 19,000 students represent each of the 50 states. UH Manoa's distance learning program leverages audio, visual, and computer technologies to permit students flexibility in attaining their educational goals. More than 55 distance learning programs offer certificates as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in a range of disciplines such as accounting, business, education, and nursing. Additionally, distance learning students enjoy access to the university's libraries as well as to online tutoring services. A leader among online schools in Hawaii, UH Manoa's distance learning programs extend the university's high-quality instruction beyond the traditional classroom.
|2||University of Hawaii at Hilo||Hilo||$$$$$||200 W Kawili St|
Hilo, HI 96720-4091
Named the "most diverse four-year public institution in the country" by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2014, the University of Hawaii at Hilo offers rigorous curricula at an affordable rate. Its small student body of just over 4,000 students permits a low faculty-to-student ratio as well as unique hands-on learning opportunities. Located on the Island of Hawaii, UH Hilo stands out among online colleges in Hawaii thanks to its distance learning options. These include an undergraduate degree in business administration as well as a graduate degree in indigenous language and cultural education. Students can also access numerous resources at the Edwin H. Mookini Library whether they are on or off campus.
|3||Chaminade University of Honolulu||Honolulu||$$$$$||3140 Waialae Avenue|
Honolulu, HI 96816-1578
Located on Oahu within easy access of Waikiki beach, Chaminade University of Honolulu offers students rigorous curricula in a highly collaborative learning environment. Founded upon Catholic, Marianist, and liberal arts education traditions, the university encourages academic success while helping students develop the moral character necessary to build a just and peaceful society. Chaminade' s Office of Professional and Continuing Education administers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in disciplines like criminology, early childhood education, pastoral theology, and psychology. Moreover, Chaminade offers accelerated 10-week courses over four terms each year, which allow students to complete their studies quickly and conveniently. With just over 1,100 students and an average class size of 19, the university's hallmark among online colleges in Hawaii is not only its rich academic offerings, but also its commitment to exemplifying a community of equals.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Hawaii
Below you’ll another ranking of the online schools in Hawaii, sorted by their tuition rate.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Hawaii
Ambassador Minerva Jean Falcon Hawai’i Scholarship
To be eligible for the Minerva Jean Falcon award, applicants must be graduates of a high school in Hawaii, attend a 2 or 4 year college (undergrad or graduate), and maintain a GPA of 2.7+. Funding is provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation.
Anthony Alexander, Andrew Delos Reyes & Jeremy Tolentino Memorial Fund
Applicants must be graduating seniors at Miliani High School with a GPA of 2.7+, and must demonstrate financial need. A personal statement and essay is required. Funding is provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation.
Bal Dasa Scholarship
For graduates of Waipahu High School. Applicants must be residents of Hawaii, have a GPA of 2.7+, and must demonstrate financial need. This scholarship is funded by the Hawaii Community Foundation.
Cayetano Foundation Scholarship
The Hawaii Community Foundation provides this scholarship to exceptional students who have shown perseverance in the face of financial and social obstacles. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors with a GPA of 3.5+. Preference is given to students majoring in Engineering, Pre-Med, Political Science, Pre-Law or Education.
David L. Irons Memorial Scholarship Fund
For graduating seniors of Punahou School. Applicants must be Hawaii residents, have a GPA of 2.7+, and must demonstrate financial need. Funding is provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation.
Dolly Ching Scholarship
The Hawaii Community Foundation provides this scholarship to graduating high school seniors on the island of Kaua’i who will attend college in the University of Hawai’i system. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. A minimum GPA of 2.7 and two letters of recommendation are required.
Eastside & Northshore Kaua’i Scholarship Fund
For students from the East or Northshore Kaua’i areas. A minimum GPA of 2.5 and a letter of recommendation is required. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, and must be enrolled at a two year or four year college or university. Funding is provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation.
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