Online Colleges in Hawaii

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Studying at an online college in Hawaii can be a great way to get your degree while saving some money. Not having to live on or commute to campus and paying lower tuition than most out-of-state students is a very cost-effective way to finish a degree. This guide will help you determine if an online college in Hawaii is the right choice for you.

Higher Learning Initiatives in Hawaii

HD Videoconferencing

In 2012, the University of Hawaii system upgraded its videoconferencing technology for high definition production across all its campuses. These upgrades were implemented specifically for distance learners, some of whom study remotely from different islands in the state. Hawaii has long championed teleconferencing, and this HD equipment will also be used in cable programming, as the university broadcasts a statewide public access channel. This initiative promises to enhance distance learning through advanced technology.

The Hawaii Virtual Learning Network

Created by the Hawaii Online Task Force, HVLN works to provide supplemental courses for Hawaii's existing public school system. The main goal of the HVLN is to expand and systematize online courses. The program offers an e-school for K-12 students in Hawaii, provides library services, and runs Project Inspire, a technology training course for teachers. The HVLN is the hub for the state's future standards in distance education, and it is currently working to aid students and teachers in the transition to a more technology-driven educational field.

Hawaii Broadband Assistance Advisory Council

The Hawaiian Broadband Assistance Advisory Council was formed in 2007 to remove barriers to broadband access across the state. However, a 2009 study placed Hawaii No. 49 in the nation in terms of broadband connection, and state leaders have postulated a connection between broadband speed and learning opportunities, citing below-average student performance across the state. In an attempt to diversify their tourist-driven economy, Hawaiian leaders are focusing on education as the key factor in developing a more dynamic workforce. The council is still active and is working to offer high-speed broadband access to the entire state in upcoming years.

Popular Degree Programs in Hawaii

In order to stay relevant, online colleges in Hawaii try to offer programs that students want to take. The two majors discussed below are examples of degrees that have a particularly large presence among people in the state who have at least a bachelor's degree.

  • Area, Ethnic, and Civilization Studies: A higher percentage of people in Hawaii have degrees in these fields than in other states, possibly because the state's diversity. With people from all over the world living in such a small place, there is increased interest, and value, in studying that diversity.
  • Business Management and Administration: Business degrees are the most popular in Hawaii, as in much of the rest of the country. These degrees allow graduates to work in fast-growing, high-paying industries with ample opportunities for advancement.

Paying for College in Hawaii

Online college often allows students to save on moving and transportation costs, especially vital in a state like Hawaii where students might be geographically restricted to a different island.

Tuition Prices

The tuition for public, in-state two-year schools in Hawaii is slightly lower than the national average. The average cost of attending a public, in-state four-year school, on the other hand, is slightly higher than the national average.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18

  Public Two Year Public Four Year
Hawaii $3,920 $10,800
U.S. Average $4,234 $9,978

Source: College Board

Employment Outlook in Hawaii

Hawaii has a lower unemployment rate than the nation overall, and the mean annual income is nearly identical to the national average. Keep in mind, however, that the cost of living is significantly higher in Hawaii than other states, so pursuing an education that furnishes access to high-paying jobs is a worthwhile endeavor.

Unemployment rate, December 2018
Hawaii 2.5%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
Hawaii $50,250
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Colleges in Hawaii

When you're looking for an online college in Hawaii, you want to find an accredited school. Accreditation means a school has been reviewed by a certifying board and approved to teach classes and award degrees. Colleges and universities can have regional or national accreditation. The former is focused on public colleges, while the latter is focused on private colleges and some technical schools. Public colleges and universities in Hawaii are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation is important to a school, as it gives legitimacy to the educational programs. Luckily, it is easy to find information on a college's website about any accreditations they have.

Some programs might also have programmatic accreditation. This kind of accreditation is awarded by professional organizations within different fields, and verifies that a given program or major holds itself to additional standards within the field. A college which does not have these additional accreditations can still give you a quality education, but degrees from these programmatically accredited institutions can be more impressive to employers.

Scholarships for Hawaii Online College Students

Scholarships can help reduce the cost of attending an online college in Hawaii, so it's a good idea to search for them and apply to any for which you qualify. We've provided the ten below to give you some idea of where to start looking.

Fukunaga Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students from the state of Hawaii who intend to study business management or administration. The scholarship can be applied to any four-year college in the country.
Amount: Up to $20,000 over four years.

Apply Here

Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Hawaii residents who are full-time students at any accredited two- or four-year college, maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA, and can demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Regents and Presidential Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Exceptional students enrolled at the University of Hawaii. Freshmen must have a 1380 SAT or 29 ACT score, as well as a 3.5 GPA. Juniors must maintain a 3.7 GPA.
Amount: Full tuition waiver

Apply Here

Second Century Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Native Hawaiian students demonstrating financial need who are enrolled in any college within the University of Hawaii system.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Hawaii's Promise Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Hawaii residents who can demonstrate financial need and are enrolled at least half-time in a community college in the state. Funding is determined by FAFSA.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

State of Hawaii B Plus Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students from Hawaii who have graduated from high school since 2005 and maintained a 3.5 GPA while enrolled in a rigorous curriculum, and can demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

New Warrior Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Applicants to the University of Hawaii Mānoa with a 3.5 GPA and high SAT or ACT scores. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation as well as a personal essay.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

UH Hilo Chancellor's Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Hawaii residents who graduated high school in the state and have been accepted to the University of Hawaii Hilo. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA and have a record of community service.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

West O'ahu Chancellor's Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Hawaii resident high school graduates with a 3.5 GPA, who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii West Oahu and shows evidence of academic achievement, community service, and leadership.
Amount: $7,272 per year

Apply Here

Native Hawaiian Tuition Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Native Hawaiian residents of the state with demonstrated financial need, and have been enrolled at the University of Hawaii West Oahu at least half-time.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Resources for Students in Hawaii

  • State Government Website: A valuable resource for anyone who lives, studies, or works in Hawaii, the state website contains information on education, establishing residency, and numerous other important topics. Especially if you plan on living in the state, this is a valuable website.
  • University of Hawaii OER: The Open Educational Resources at the University of Hawaii provides a wealth of resources that are open and free to use for anyone, regardless of what college or university you attend. They also provide links to other similar resources.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid: Everyone should submit a FAFSA, which allows you to qualify for financial aid from the United States Department of Education. Many colleges require FAFSA information when you apply, and states and private organizations use this info to determine who qualifies for scholarships.
  • 55 by 25: 55 by 25 is a state-wide initiative to promote higher education in Hawaii. The goal is the have 55% of resident adults holding a college degree by 2025, and the state has launched a variety of programs in order to do so.

Online Schools in Hawaii

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Honolulu, HI


  • Graduation Rate: 36%
  • Average Net Price: $18,924

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Hawaii Pacific University

Honolulu, HI


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $21,367

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