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
1Brigham Young University – Hawaii 1/554.84%Laie, HI

Owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU-Hawaii integrates both spiritual and secular learning into its online curriculum. Distance learners can pursue an AAS degree specifically designed to be coupled with a certificate program, including a certificate of entrepreneurship and a certificate of intercultural peace. Currently, the school does not offer an online bachelor’s degree program.

Distance learners must receive ecclesiastical endorsement before completing an online degree. Students interact through video lessons and one-on-one Skype sessions, and coursework can be accessed through the Canvas learning platform.

  • $220 per credit for mainland U.S. students.
  • $110 per credit for mainland U.S. students that are members of the LDS church.
  • $130 per credit for residents of Hawaii.
  • $65 per credit for residents of Hawaii that are members of the LDS church.
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2University of Hawaii – West Oahu 1/540%Kapolei, HI

University of Hawaii-West Oahu delivers online classes through the Laulima course management system and through interactive TV (ITV), allowing distance students to meet at prearranged sites and participate in classes broadcast from remote classroom facilities. UHWO offers three BA programs and three certificate programs online, including:

  • BA in business administration
  • BA in public administration
  • BA in social sciences (applied, early childhood education, political science, or psychology tracks)
  • Certificate in substance abuse and addiction studies
  • Certificate in health care administration
  • Certificate in disaster preparedness and emergency management

Distance learners have access to the UH West O'ahu Library and can also receive online tutoring through the UH West O'ahu No'eau Center for Writing, Math, and Academic Success.

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3University of Hawaii at Hilo 2/538.43%Hilo, HI

The University of Hawaii at Hilo delivers classes to distance learners through videoconferencing and through the Laulima course management system. Online students have access to course reserves and support through the distance learning librarian, as well.

Students at UHH can pursue the following online degrees:

  • Bachelor of business administration
  • Registered nursing to bachelor of science in nursing
  • Bachelor of arts in psychology
  • Doctor of nursing practice
  • Master of education
  • Kahuawaiola indigenous teacher education program
  • Master of arts in indigenous language and culture education
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4Remington College – Honolulu Campus 1/546.57%Honolulu, HI

Remington College-Honolulu is business-focused, and the school offers a selection of online associate and bachelor’s degrees in business, management, marketing, criminal justice, and paralegal. The school’s online programs cater to students looking to start a new career and to working professionals hoping to advance in their field. RC-Honolulu’s online business bachelor’s program can be completed in 36 months.

Students at RC-Honolulu can pursue the following online degrees:

  • Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (General, Human Resources, Management, or Marketing tracks)
  • Organizational Management Bachelor’s Degree
  • Health Information Management Bachelor’s Degree
  • Associate’s Degree in Health Information Technology
  • Paralegal Associate’s Degree
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate’s Degree
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5University of Hawaii Maui College 2/510.44%Kahului, HI

Students at UH Maui can complete their degrees completely online or through hybrid online/on-campus classes. UHMC partners with colleges like the University of Hawaii at Hilo, meaning distance students can explore a greater variety of online classes while earning their bachelor’s and graduate degrees in business and hospitality, medical and healthcare, information and computer science, public administration, social and human services, education, or science.

Online classes are delivered synchronously and asynchronously through ITV and the Laulima course management system. Library support services are available through the school's distance learning librarian, and the school provides proctoring services at the UH Maui College campus.

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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.