Best Online Colleges in Hawaii

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Hawaii is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The institution provides students from 16 participating states with tuition reduction opportunities. Most notably, that includes a professional student exchange program, which allows students from Hawaii to enroll in select out-of-state programs without paying exorbitant tuition fees. Additionally, the Hawaii Department of Education provides adult learners and college-bound high school students with online college prep and distance learning options, and the Hawaii Virtual Learning Network (HVLN) consortium provides online instruction for residential K-12 students and teachers in continuing education programs.

Of the relatively few online colleges in Hawaii, the largest online education provider is the University of Hawaii. The school currently offers two fully online undergraduate programs. Though it has struggled to expand its online course offerings in recent years, UH has a long history of television-based distance learning programs. UH also unveiled a new hybrid psychology degree recently, though it is not yet offered entirely online. Responding to lagging graduation rates and budgetary challenges, the university is working to expand online degree completion programs to help community college students from neighbor islands finish their four-year degrees.

Tuition at four-year public universities in Hawaii increased by 97.6% from 2007 to 2012. Additionally, Hawaii is one of the most expensive states to live in, and those two factors make online education attractive to students both in and outside of the state. Increasingly, students are turning towards distance education programs in Hawaii, a trend that should only grow in the coming years.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1University of Hawaii – West Oahu74.502/529%Kapolei, HI

UH West Oahu allows students to take upper division classes in an online format. UHWO’s online platform features courses in business administration, public administration, early childhood education, political science, and several other subjects. While most upper division courses are available online, prospective distance learners must complete all introductory material on campus. Students may take their lower division courses at either UHWO or at partnering online colleges in Hawaii.

Distance learners can take online classes in one of two formats. Some courses are offered entirely online through the school’s Laulima platform, which is the course management tool used by all UH schools. Other classes are taught through interactive television. These courses are run through UHWO, and students are required to assemble at participating classroom facilities sprinkled throughout the Hawai’an islands. In addition to the online degrees available, distance students may also pursue several certificates, including offerings in substance abuse and addiction studies, healthcare administration, and disaster preparedness and emergency management.

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2University of Hawaii at Manoa71.503/556%Honolulu, HI

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UH Manoa) is the flagship campus of the University of Hawaiʻi system with approximately 19,000 students, a diverse community of learners, and unique research opportunities. UH Mānoa's students receive a high-quality education via 18 colleges and schools offering 100 bachelor's degrees, 85 master's, and five professional and doctoral programs. UH Mānoa is nationally ranked in numerous program areas such as agriculture & forestry, biological Sciences, law, and physics.

UH Mānoa is one of the online colleges in Hawaii offering online bachelor's degrees in numerous fields, such as business administration, education, nursing, and public administration. The school's BA in social sciences is notable for its four tracks: applied, early childhood education, political science, and psychology. The BA in public administration has four tracks: disaster preparedness and emergency management, general public administration, healthcare administration, and justice administration.

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3Chaminade University of Honolulu59.003/536%Honolulu, HI

The only Catholic University in Hawaii, Honolulu-based Chaminade University is a small, private institution where about 2,500 students engage in a collaborative learning environment dedicated to life preparation, service, and successful careers. Chaminade offers 25 undergraduate and graduate programs in a number of disciplines, including the fine arts and humanities, sciences and mathematics, education, and behavioral sciences.

One of the best online colleges in Hawaii, Chaminade offers several 100% online bachelor's degree programs in fields ranging from business and English to criminal justice and religious studies. Programs of note include the BA in historical and political studies, in which students study societies, governments, and institutions in a curriculum that incorporates the perspectives of Asian and Pacific communities. The school offers four bachelor's degrees in education alone: BS in early childhood education; BS in early childhood education--Montessori credential; BS in elementary education; and BS in secondary education.

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4University of Hawaii at Hilo57.503/539%Hilo, HI

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UH Hilo) is a state university with a private college learning environment. The school offers 37 undergraduate, eight graduate, and four doctoral programs -- some of which can be taken via e-learning options. The liberal arts and science institution's approximately 4,000 students have opportunities to immerse in a rigorous education featuring low faculty-to-student ratio, many research opportunities, and hands-on learning -- all at an affordable tuition rate.

One of the best Hawaii online colleges, Uh Hilo offers two bachelor's degrees completely online: BA in psychology, with a requirement that students complete the school's general education and other course requirements prior to program entry; and an RN-to-BSN. Uh Hilo's distance learning is delivered via video-conferencing. The school also offers an extensive list of individual courses that can be taken online toward many bachelor's programs.

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4Remington College – Honolulu Campus57.504/553%Honolulu, HI

Remington College has 16 branches scattered throughout the United States, including a school in Honolulu. The college offers a quality education at an affordable price, and Remington’s Tuition Freeze program guarantees that your tuition rate will not increase while you’re in school. Remington’s programs prepare graduates for careers in business, management, marketing, and criminal justice.

Remington is one of the few online colleges in Hawaii that allows students to pursue either an associate or a bachelor’s degree in a distance format. Students looking to earn an associate degree can take classes in health information technology, occupational therapy, or in paralegal studies. The school offers seven bachelor’s degrees, including programs in general business, management, marketing, and criminal justice. Remington offers a variety of scholarships to help online students offset the cost of tuition, and the school does not charge an application fee.

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More About Online Colleges in Hawaii

Hawaii may be small in size, however this system of islands is among the most densely populated areas in the U.S. The large population of students enrolled in the state’s brick-and-mortar institutions have likely experienced the effects of a dramatic rise in education costs in recent years. Tuition and fees at Hawaii colleges and universities have increased by 97.6% over the last five years, while funds allocated for postsecondary education in the state have increased by only 1.7% to accommodate these growing costs. These figures combined with the state’s high cost of living indicate this is a great time to pursue online education in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Education is dedicated to providing online college prep courses and distance learning options to both college-bound students and adult learners, respectively. Hawaii Virtual Learning Network is an online consortium designed to make distance learning courses accessible to all K-12 students in the state, through a systematized format developed by the Hawaii Online Task Force. As the state’s largest university system, the University of Hawaii also features a comprehensive subnetwork of degrees, certificates and training programs available entirely online.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Hawaii for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

As of fall 2012 enrollment, NCES reports indicate that 11% (8,736) of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Hawaii were in exclusively online programs.

  • 5.5% of students at four-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 15.4% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 87% were living in Hawaii
  • 8.1% were living elsewhere in the United States

Comprising numerous campuses of the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Community College, Hawaii’s largest college systems feature a robust department solely dedicated to distance learning courses. Additionally, schools such as Chaminade University and Argosy University offer programs specific to the needs of distance learners, and Hawaii Pacific offers online courses tailored to military students through a Navy college partnership. To explore future distance learning opportunities in Hawaii and beyond, the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education will host the 2015 world conference on e-learning in Kona, HI.

Best Online Colleges in Hawaii of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Brigham Young University - Hawaii Laie, HI
2 University of Hawaii - West Oahu Kapolei, HI
3 University of Hawaii at Hilo Hilo, HI
4 Remington College - Honolulu Campus Honolulu, HI
5 University of Hawaii Maui College Kahului, HI