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The 50th and final state to be inducted into the Union in 1959, Hawaii is also the 8th-smallest and the 11th-least populous. Still, despite its remoteness, people have been living here for thousands of years, with the earliest inhabitants estimated to have lived around 300CE. Though Spanish explorers first landed on the archipelago in the 16th century, the first documented European contact wouldn’t come until Captain Cook arrived in 1778, and the islands’ jarring beauty immediately captivated non-natives: pristine beaches, sheer cliffs, dense rainforests, and, of course, volcanoes. While tourism has been a major economic factor, Hawaii has been a hub for the military, agriculture, textiles, and more. Education has also played a major role, and the list of Hawaiian colleges and universities includes 4 public four-year universities, 5 private schools, and a half-dozen community colleges. To keep pace with national trends in higher education, many of these schools are now offering online degrees to support affordable, flexible education opportunities.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences–often on the weekends or in several week long bouts–enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees that can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

There are at least six public schools in Hawaii that offer online degrees, the largest of which is University of Hawaii at Manoa, offering 25 — the most in the state. Hawaii Community College is the second-largest public provider at 22 online degrees. Kauai Community College is a close third, totaling 21 online degrees. From there, University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Hawaii at West Oahu, and Leeward Community College offer a total of ten online degrees. There are two private schools in Hawaii that offer online degrees – Chaminade University of Honolulu and Hawaii Pacific University.

Potential Resident

For a variety of reasons, a student may look to move to the state of their online college program whether specifically required by the program or not – be it for a job, location desirability, school benefits, etc. Different states have different policies, however, and some of them can be rather demanding. Hawaii’s requirements are best enumerated here. In short, students must have been a “bona fide” resident — i.e., established a legal domicile — of Hawaii for at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes. Among the documents you may need to prove permanent residency include personal income tax proof, a state voter certificate, employment verification, active bank account, lease agreement, etc. Note that exceptions include military personnel and dependents; members of the Hawaii National Guard or Hawaii based Reserve; East-West Center student grantees; and Native Hawaiians.

Tuition, Cost of Living and Opportunity

For 2015-16, the average tuition for a four-year public school in Hawaii was $10,175 per year, compared to a $9,142 national average. That represents a 5% increase from 2014-15, compared to a 3% national average, and a 25% increase over the last 5 years, compared to to a 13% national average. Two-year community colleges fared better: 2015-16 average tuition was $3,664, or about $300 less than the national average. Still that’s a 5% increase from the prior year, and a 24% increase over the last 5 years. While this may be troubling in general, it’s worth noting that historically Hawaii tuition has often been lower than the national average — sometimes significantly so — so the recent spike may be an aberration.

There are four schools in Honolulu County that offer online degrees: Chaminade University of Honolulu, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University, and Leeward Community College. The largest of these is UH Manoa, which is the largest online education provider in the state, offering eight bachelor’s, 13 master’s, and four doctorate tracks. For undergraduates, highlights include studies in Business Administration, Public Administration, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Nursing, among others. From there, Manoa offers a variety of MEd concentrations, an MSN, MSW, and doctorates in Nursing and Education specializations. Chaminade offers 12 online degrees, including three associates in Business, Early Childhood Education, and Liberal Arts, and bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, Education, English, History, and more. Leeward has two associates and HPU offers six master’s.

Hawaii Community College, in Hilo, is the central online degree provider in Hawaii County. It’s also the second-largest in the state (22 degrees), with a mission to promote an educational model that develops life-long learners and productive, engaged global citizens. Of the eight bachelor’s, programs include Public Administration (Healthcare), Business Administration, Nursing, Political Science, and Education specializations. From there, 10 master’s are available in Music Education, MEd concentrations, Rehabilitation Counseling, Social Work, Library & Information Science, and an MBA. Doctorates are available in Educational Foundations, Educational Policy Studies, and Nursing (DNP or PhD). In addition to regional accreditation, HCC holds specialized accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC).

Founded in 1965, Kauai Community College is the main online degree provider in Kauai County, offering 21 tracks, the third most in Hawaii. Undergraduates choose between Business Administration, Social Sciences (Early Childhood Education), Elementary Education, RN to BSN, Hawaii Statewide Nursing Consortium, Public Administration, and Political Science, among other fields. From there, 10 master’s are available, including: MEd concentrations (Educational Foundations, Special Education, Curriculum Studies, Private School Leadership, etc.), an Executive MBA, Computer Science, Nursing, Social Work, Rehabilitation Counseling, Library & Information Science, and more. Doctorate tracks are offered in Educational Foundations, Educational Policy Studies, Nursing Practice (DNP), and Nursing (PhD). Student support services include counseling, advising, tutoring, tech assistance, and enrollment and registration assistance.

Opportunity Comparison

City
Population
Cost of Living
Top Industries
Local Online Degrees
Honolulu
337256
196.9%
Tourism, Defense
4
Pearl City
47698
164%
Tourism, Education
4
Hilo
43263
91%
Tourism, Education
1
Kapaa
10699
98.2%
Tourism
1

Online Schools in Hawaii

The 6 Best Online Universities in Hawaii

hawaii-01

6 Results Name Number of Online Degrees US News Rank School Type Rank

Name

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Online Programs

25

US News Rank

N169

Type

Public

1
Founded in 1907, The University of Hawaii at Manoa has a total enrollment of about 19,000, most of whom are undergraduates. Ranked among the best public schools in the nation, the school’s 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a highly intimate, tight-knit educational community that balances individualized instruction with collaborative learning. Half of classes consist of less than 20 students, and only 13% have 50 or more. Online opportunities are manifold: with 25 degrees available, Manoa offers the most distance education degrees in the state, including eight bachelor’s, 13 master’s, and four doctoral tracks across a wide range of disciplines. Some highlights include a BA in Public Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare, an MBA, and two Nursing doctorates. For students seeking financial aid, over half of undergraduates receive some form of aid, and the average need met is 70%.

Name

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Online Programs

12

US News Rank

R52

Type

Private

2
Chaminade University of Honolulu, founded in 1955, is a private Catholic liberal arts school with a total enrollment of around 1,900.As a top-ranked school in the West region, US News has also recognized Chaminade as a top-30 university for veterans. With a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, CUH is able to support an intimate, tailored education model that balances one-on-one instruction and collaborative learning. Nearly 60% of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and less than .5% have 50 or more. Online, CUH offers three associates – in Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, and Liberal Arts — plus nine bachelor’s in Criminology And Criminal Justice, English, Religious Studies, Historical & Political Studies, Psychology, and Education concentrations, among others. For those interested, 71% of undergrads receive some form of financial aid, and the average need met is 70%.

Name

Hawaii Community College

Online Programs

22

US News Rank

N/A

Type

Public

3
Founded in 1941 as the Hawaii Vocational School, Hawaii Community College, a two-year college based in Hilo, is one of 10 campuses in the University of Hawaii system, with a mission to promote an education that develops life-long learners and productive, engaged global citizens. HCC offers 22 online degrees, including eight bachelor’s, ten master’s, and four doctoral tracks, making it one of the largest online education hubs in the state. Some undergraduate highlights include an RN to BSN, BA in Business Administration, and BA in Public Administration (Healthcare). From there, HCC offers at least six MEd concentrations, an MSN, Master of Social Work, MS in Rehabilitation Counseling, and doctorates in Education and Nursing. In addition to regional accreditation, HCC holds specialized accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC).

Name

Hawaii Pacific University

Online Programs

6

US News Rank

R61

Type

Private

4
Founded in 1965, Hawaii Pacific University has an enrollment of 4,700, most of which are undergraduates. Ranked by US News as one of the best colleges in the West region, Hawaii Pacific enjoys a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which promotes a vibrant and tight-knit educational community that combines individualized instruction with collaborative learning opportunities. Nearly 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and just 1% have 50 or more. HPU offers six online degrees, all of which are masters-level, in Integrated Marketing Communications, Information Systems, Medical Informatics, Global Health, Predictive Analytics, and Policy & Administration. All students have access to online tutoring, writing assistance, library services, and more. For those interested in financial aid opportunities, more than half of undergraduates receive some form of aid, and the average need met is 56%.

Name

Kauai Community College

Online Programs

21

US News Rank

N/A

Type

Public

5
Kauai Community College, founded in 1965, is the third-largest online education provider in the state, with 21 degrees available, including seven bachelor’s, 10 master’s, and four doctoral tracks. Undergraduates may major in Business Administration, Social Sciences (Early Childhood Education), Elementary Education, RN to BSN, Public Administration, and Political Science, among other fields. From there, master’s degree opportunities are many: MEd concentrations, an Executive MBA, Computer Science, Nursing, Social Work, Rehabilitation Counseling, Library & Information Science, and more. Doctorate tracks are offered in Educational Foundations, Educational Policy Studies, Nursing Practice (DNP), and Nursing (PhD). Student support services include counseling, advising, tutoring, tech assistance, and enrollment and registration assistance.

Name

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Online Programs

3

US News Rank

R61

Type

Public

6
Founded in 1947, University of Hawaii at Hilo has a total enrollment of 3,800, most of which is undergraduate. As one of the top universities in the West, US News ranks UH Hilo in the top 15 among public schools in the region. The school’s 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio is the lowest on the list, helping to build an intimate, tailored educational setting that combines personalized instruction with peer-to-peer learning. Nearly half of classes consist of less than 20 students, and just 2% have 50 or more. Online, Hilo offers bachelors in Business Administration and Nursing, an MA in Indigenous Language & Culture Education, and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate individual schedules, and hybrid delivery is available for some classes. Student services include academic advising, tech support, writing assistance, financial aid, and placement testing, among others.

Accreditation and Financial Aid

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Missouri is the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Micronesia, Palau, and Northern Marianas Islands, as well as schools for American children in Asia..

Making sure that a University you’re hoping to attend is regionally accredited–or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency–is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Database: All Online Colleges HI

Below we’ve listed all eight Hawaii-based universities currently offering online degrees. Toggle the “plus” signs on the right to see what degrees each university offers. And while we’re pretty sure that there’s plenty of Hawaii-specific online education information below, remember that you can always visit the National Center for Educational Statistics College Explorer for the most advanced search of higher education institutions anywhere online!

8 Results Name Number of Online Degrees US News Rank School Type Programs

Name

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Online Programs

25

US News Rank

N169

Public

Associates Degrees

  • N/A!

Bachelors Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration (Health Care Administration)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelors in Education in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor in Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Hawaii Statewide Nursing Consortium
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, Applied Track
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, Political Science

Masters Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Music Education Executive MBA
  • Master of Education in Educational Foundation, Private School Leadership
  • Master of Human Resource Management
  • Master of Arts in Indigenous Language And Culture Education
  • Master of Education in Curriculum Studies (Varying Emphases)
  • Master of Education in Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Education in Educational Foundation
  • Master of Education in Educational Technology
  • Master of Education in Special Education
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Nursing Master Degree in Social Work
  • Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Master of Library & Information Science

Doctoral Programs

  • Doctoral in Educational Foundations
  • Doctoral in Educational Policy Studies
  • Doctorate of Nursing Practice
  • Ph.D. in Nursing

Name

Leeward Community College

Online Programs

2

US News Rank

N/A

Public

Associates Degrees

  • Associate of Science Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Teaching

Bachelors Degrees

  • N/A!

Masters Degrees

  • N/A!

Doctoral Programs

  • N/A!

Name

Hawaii Pacific University

Online Programs

6

US News Rank

R61

Private

Associates Degrees

  • N/A!

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • N/A!

Masters Degrees

  • Master’s Degree in Medical Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Master of Science in Information Systems
  • Ms in Medical Informatics
  • Master of Science in Global Health Online
  • Master of Science in Predictive Analytics
  • Master’s Degree in Policy & Administration

Doctoral Programs

  • N/A!

Name

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Online Programs

3

US News Rank

R61

Public

Associates Degrees

  • N/A!

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Bachelor of Business Administration Registered Nursing To Bachelors of Science in Nursing

Masters Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Indigenous Language & Culture Education

Doctoral Programs

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Name

Hawaii Community College

Online Programs

22

US News Rank

N/A

Public

Associates Degrees

  • N/A!

Bachelors Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts (Ba) in Public Administration – Health Care Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration – General Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences – Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science (Bs) in Hawaii Statewide Nursing Consortium (Hsnc)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Rn To Bsn)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences – Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences (Bass) – Applied Track

Masters Degrees

  • Master of Arts (Ma) in Music Education Executive MBA
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Educational Foundation – Private School Leadership
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Curriculum Studies
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Educational Foundations
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Special Education Masters in Education (M.Ed) in Educational Technology
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science (Ms) in Nursing Master in Social Work
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Master of Library & Information Science (Mlisc)

Doctoral Programs

  • Doctoral (Ph.D) in Educational Foundations
  • Doctoral (Ph.D) in Educational Policy Studies
  • Doctorate of Nursing Practice (Dnp)
  • Ph.D. in Nursing

Name

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Online Programs

12

US News Rank

R52

Private

Associates Degrees

  • Associate of Art in Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Associate of Art in Liberal Arts

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology And Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Historical & Political Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts Social Studies

Masters Degrees

  • N/A!

Doctoral Programs

  • N/A!

Name

Kauai Community College

Online Programs

21

US News Rank

N/A

Public

Associates Degrees

  • N/A!

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration – General Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences – Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in Elementary Education Bachelor in Science in Nursing (Rn To Bsn)
  • Bachelor of Science (Bs) in Hawaii Statewide Nursing Consortium (Hsnc)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration (Bapa)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences – Political Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences (Bass)

Masters Degrees

  • Master of Arts (Ma) in Music Education Executive MBA
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Educational Foundation – Private School Leadership
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Curriculum Studies
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Educational Foundations
  • Master of Education (M.Ed) in Special Education Masters in Education (M.Ed) in Educational Technology
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science (Ms) in Nursing Master Degree in Social Work
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Master of Library & Information Science (Mlisc)

Doctoral Programs

  • Doctoral (Ph.D) in Educational Foundations
  • Doctoral (PhD) in Educational Policy Studies
  • Doctorate of Nursing Practice (Dnp)
  • Ph.D. in Nursing

Name

University of Hawaii at West Oahu

Online Programs

5

US News Rank

N/A

Public

Associates Degrees

  • N/A!

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • B.A. in Business Administration
  • B.A. in Public Administration
  • BA in Social Sciences, Early Childhood Education
  • BA in Social Sciences, Political Science
  • BA in Social Sciences, Psychology

Master’s Degrees

  • N/A!

Doctoral Programs

  • N/A!

Great Hawaii Higher Education Resources

General Sites

Hawaii Department of Education

The Hawaii Department of Education includes information, links, and tools for parents and students.

Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling

The HCAC supports students in their college search for both in-state and out-of-state higher education.

Hawaii Education Association

The HEA offers information for scholarships, research, and more.

Native Hawaiian Education Council

The NHEC serves the unique educational needs of the Native Hawaiian people.

Hawaii Association of Independent Schools

The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, founded in 1969, includes information on the state’s private higher education.

Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii

The LDAH was founded in 1968 to enhance educational, work, and life opportunities for students with learning disabilities.

Hawaii Learning Resource

The Hawaii Learning Resource, launched in 2003, is designed to support all kinds of learners on a community level.

General and Regional Financial Aid

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The OHA offers an excellent catalog of scholarships available in-state.

Hawaii Community Foundation

Founded in 1916, The Hawaii Community Foundation provides more than $4 million annually for college scholarships.

Unity House Hawaii

Unity House Hawaii has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships over the past decade.

Palama Settlement

The Palama Settlement offers four scholarships.

East-West Center

The East-West Center offers a number of scholarship opportunities for Hawaii higher education.

Atherton Family Foundation

The Atherton Family Foundation offers the Juliette M. Atherton Scholarship, which offered $90,000 to 18 students in 2016.