While it may be a relatively small state, online colleges in Hawaii are making big waves when it comes to distance education.
The state was one of the first to offer distance learning opportunities in an attempt to connect to those in rural parts of the islands and even those on the mainland.
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Today, increased focus is on online college program availability as Hawaii strives to meet the changing needs of college students.
Online Colleges in Hawaii
While the metropolitan area around Honolulu has nearly a million residents, a large portion of Hawaii is rural, and travel between the islands can be difficult. This inconvenience, in addition to tuition rates and a high cost of living, has made distance learning an attractive option for many students.
For many years, Hawaii has offered distance education in three formats:
- Cable television: In this format, students can watch live or pre-recorded programs from anywhere they can access the channel. Typically, there is an online component as well, for course materials and assignments.
- Interactive video: For this format, students gather at satellite locations to watch and interact with their instructors and classmates meeting elsewhere. Typically, there is an online component as well, for course materials and assignments.
- Online: This is likely the most recognized format. Online students log on independently and can complete coursework from anywhere they have internet access.
While all three formats are still utilized, the state has been working hard to increase the number of programs available completely online.
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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 51.5% of postsecondary students in Hawaii are enrolled in an online-only degree program. Another 31% are enrolled in a hybrid program, taking some classes on-campus and some online.
There are additional options to consider. Private schools offer a wide variety of fully online undergraduate and graduate degree and certification programs.
Common Online Degrees in Hawaii
It can be challenging to determine which degree to study when sifting through the many Hawaii online degrees available. We’ve shared here five common online degrees in Hawaii to help you get started.
- Business Administration and Management: Studying business administration and management can help you develop a foundation in business processes and objectives for management roles in small to large organizations.
- Human Resources Management: HR management programs typically cover strategies for managing companies, human resource planning, recruitment, training, and career planning.
- Military History: This field of study can help you develop a foundation in military history and politics and an understanding of how the military functions as an institution within society.
- Accounting: Studying accounting can help you gain the skills needed to be able to evaluate, analyze, and report financial information and develop a comprehensive understanding of accounting and financial issues affecting businesses.
- Criminal Justice: Taking a criminal justice degree program can help you learn how to think critically about the causes and consequences of criminal acts and how to research ever-evolving criminal justice issues and use this research to guide policy development.
These are only a few of the common online degrees in Hawaii you can choose to study. To learn more about your options, you can look at the best colleges in Hawaii online.
Overview of Higher Education in Hawaii
Across its 8 islands, Hawaii hosts 17 degree-granting institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Of those, 10 are public schools, 5 are non-profit schools and 3 are for-profit schools. This includes 2 year Hawaii community college options and 4 year universities.
NCES reports that in-state students in Hawaii pay on average $10,197 a year in tuition and fees to attend a public, 4 year school. This is higher that the US average, which is $9,375.
Out-of-state students hoping to study at one of the island schools pay on average $32,043 a year in tuition and fees.
If they’re from one of the western states, though, they may get a break. Hawaii is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which is a collaboration of 16 states and territories focused on innovation and resource sharing.
Through this program, qualifying residents of those 16 states may enroll in degree programs at any of the participating states for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
Employment Outlook for College Graduates in Hawaii
In Hawaii, the unemployment rate hovers around 3 to 4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Despite this seemingly low unemployment rate, the job market is still small enough that many people are without jobs.
Most people working in Hawaii are employed by the government or by trade, hospitality, leisure, manufacturing, transportation, or utility companies.
In recent years, many people in the construction industry have also found jobs in Hawaii, with the state experiencing a significant increase in employment in this field. Hawaii has also seen an uptick in nursing and tech jobs.
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If you’re a college graduate in Hawaii, this might mean you’ll have trouble securing a job if you don’t have a degree in one of the fields that employ the most employees in the state. But with many fields seeing positive growth, there is an overall positive employment outlook for college graduates.
Careers & Salaries in Hawaii
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the average annual salary estimates for a variety of popular careers in Hawaii.
Typically, top earners are in the medical industry, but the financial and public protection industries usually have desirable pay as well.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$128,420|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||$99,590|
|General and Operations Managers||$96,050|
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers||$78,540|
|Accountants and Auditors||$63,020|
These are only a few top-earning career paths available to those graduating from one of the online schools in Hawaii. You can have a deeper look at the BLS data to find the specific career you’re interested in to learn its median annual wage.
Should I Go to College in Hawaii?
When deciding whether to attend one of the Hawaiian colleges online or another institution, there will be a number of factors you may consider, such as your budget, career goals, preferences, and needs.
These are some of the things you may need to consider when making your choice:
- Flexibility: Online studies often have greater flexibility so it may be easier to juggle work and family commitments while earning a college degree.
- Degree variety: In Hawaii, there are about 20 online degree programs, allowing for a wide pool of choices for those interested in studying online.
- Better salaries: Data has revealed that residents with bachelor’s degrees earn up to $27,000 more on average annually than those with high school diplomas and are less likely to be without a job. This means that you may enjoy higher salaries and be less likely to be unemployed in Hawaii after obtaining a degree.
- Affordability: Hawaii is one of the most expensive states to live in, so choosing to earn a degree online may help offset the high cost of living.
If you’re not convinced that studying at an online Hawaiian school is the right move, you might want to speak with a career adviser or college counselor.
Online Universities in Hawaii Admissions Requirements
Online degree admission requirements could differ from college to college in Hawaii. Still, we’ve listed below a few general admission requirements that are often needed.
- A minimum of a 2.7 cumulative high school GPA
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- A minimum of 22 credits for high school coursework
- Four college prep credits
Some Hawaii online colleges will require all these admissions requirements, while others might only need a few of these requirements to be met for admission.
HI Online Colleges Accreditation
Most students that study at an online college in Hawaii choose to do so at one regionally accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Earning a degree from a regionally accredited school offers many potential benefits.
Schools must go through rigorous evaluations to earn accreditation and prove that they are offering quality education. Many forms of financial aid also require students to attend a regionally accredited school. Many employers also look more favorably upon degrees from schools with regional accreditation.
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That’s why it’s usually best for students to earn an online degree in Hawaii from a college with regional accreditation.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If Hawaii online colleges interest you and you want to pursue a degree, then a good place to start is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The data you provide will be used to determine how much federal financial aid you qualify for.
Many other forms of financial aid also utilize the information from this application.
Grants and scholarships are other types of assistance to explore when considering the top colleges in Hawaii online. These types of aid do not have to be paid back as long as they are used appropriately.
Grants tend to be based on financial need, while scholarships may also be awarded based on things like academic accomplishments, geographic location, chosen fields of study, unique hobbies, and so on.
One valuable resource for islanders is the Hawaii Community Foundation. This site provides access to information about and applications for dozens of college scholarships available exclusively to Hawaiian residents and those seeking a degree from a Hawaiian postsecondary institution.
Here’s a sample of some of the scholarships available to qualifying students attending colleges in HI:
- Albert and Dorothy Shigekuni Scholarship Fund: Up to $2,000
- Bank of Hawaii Foundation Scholarships: Varies
- Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation: $4,000 per year (with academic requirements)
- Gates Millennium Scholars Program: “Good through graduation” full-ride
- Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Native Hawaiian Scholarships: Amount varies
Individual schools may also offer assistance. You can check with the financial aid office at the school of your choice to find out what you qualify for and how you can apply.
Hawaii Online Education Resources
Below, we have listed a few educational resources students looking to study in Hawaii can use to research online schools and colleges in the state.
- Hawaii Community Foundation: This philanthropic organization offers scholarships to qualifying students who want to use higher education to better their lives.
- State Adult Education Agency: This program offers support to adult learners and information on adult education programs and application requirements.
- Hawaii Post-Secondary Education Authorization Program: This program helps students avoid common mistakes when applying to degree programs in Hawaii.
You can use these resources to further explore the options available and get help in preparing for college.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to an Online College in Hawaii?
For the most part, online degree programs in Hawaii offer competitive tuition rates compared to other US states. According to the NCES, it costs on average $10,197 a year in tuition and fees to attend a public, 4 year institution, which is higher than the national average but still lower than many states.
In contrast, the average yearly cost of tuition and fees at a private, 4 year college is $19,096, which is quite a bit lower than the national average.
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Students who want to obtain in-state tuition fees when studying online at a Hawaii college typically need to prove that they have lived in the state for a minimum of one year before commencing their studies.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Tuition breaks can be thought of as tuition savings offered by certain colleges. In most instances, in-state tuition will be more cost-effective than out-of-state tuition. but tuition breaks may be available for students who want to go to an online college in Hawaii but live in another state.
Many online colleges in Hawaii offer lower tuition rates (tuition breaks) for select online classes or in-state tuition for fully online students living in another state.
In addition, students studying online in Hawaii may be able to get support from the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which is offered by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
This program has an out-of-state tuition cap of 150%, and it helps select qualifying out-of-state students save on tuition fees when studying at online colleges in Hawaii.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Hawaii?
There are numerous high-paying jobs in Hawaii, but three of the highest-paying professions, according to the BLS, are dermatologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physicians. All of these professions have average annual salaries of over $208,000.
However, there is no guarantee that obtaining a degree from an online college in Hawaii will secure a student one of these or other high-paying jobs in this state.
Numerous factors affect why some jobs in Hawaii pay more than others. Work experience, education, geographic location, and many other factors can affect how much a job pays.
List of Online Colleges in Hawaii
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Brigham Young University—Hawaii is rooted in the LDS Christian faith. Qualifying members of the LDS church can get discounted tuition.
BYU—Hawaii doesn’t currently offer online degrees, but several BYU schools do, including BYU—Pathway Worldwide. BYU—Hawaii does offer distance learning courses to prepare students for transitioning to their Hawaii campus.
Brigham Young University–Hawaii is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Chaminade University of Honolulu follows Marianist traditions to help teach the whole student. In addition to academics, the school aims to develop ethics and leadership in its students.
Chaminade offers undergraduate degrees and graduate certificates. Students can choose majors like Historical and Political Studies, Community and Public Health, or Secondary Education.
The Chaminade University of Honolulu is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Hawaii Pacific University’s professors have lots of professional and academic knowledge. They strive to give students practical experiences to prepare them for their future careers.
Hawaii Pacific offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields like human resource development, nursing, criminal justice, and public health.
Hawai’i Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
The University of Hawai’i—Hilo is ranked as one of the top ten most diverse national universities. Several of the school’s online courses are taught through video conferencing.
The school offers a limited number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees that can be earned online. Fields of study offered include indigenous language and culture, nursing, and counseling psychology.
The University of Hawai’i – Hilo is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The University of Hawai’i—Manoa is ranked as a top research institution both nationally and internationally through the Carnegie Foundation.
UH—Manoa offers both synchronous and asynchronous online programs. Some programs are fully online, while others are hybrid. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in fields such as social work, kinesiology, and special education.
The University of Hawai’i at Manoa is accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The University of Hawai’i—Maui College offers one degree that can be earned online, an Associate in Arts Liberal Arts degree. The program is partially online. Some classes must be taken on campus. Students can potentially complete the program in 4 years if they take classes during the fall and summer.
The University of Hawai’i Maui College is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
The University of Hawai’i—West Oahu offers online degree completion programs. Prospective students need to have already completed their freshman and sophomore years at any of the University of Hawai’i locations or another accredited institution.
Courses are offered in an asynchronous and interactive television format. Majors offered include Hawai’ian-Pacific Studies, Hospitality and Tourism, and Finance.
The University of Hawai’i – West Oahu is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
The University of Phoenix—Hawaii is currently only accepting online students. The school aims to provide flexible programs for students who have outside commitments. Start dates are offered every 5 to 6 weeks, and most courses are only 5 to 6 weeks long as well.
The school offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like health management, English, and correctional program support.
The University of Phoenix – Hawaii is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Online Degree in Hawaii
Hawaii is more than a vacation destination. From 2 year community colleges to advanced postgraduate research institutions, the state is also a prime destination for many seeking higher education.
The state’s strong focus on distance learning helps to show its commitment to meeting the ever-changing needs of college students and providing excellent opportunities to people no matter where they live.
You can start your online educational journey by researching accredited schools in Hawaii today.