10 Best Colleges in Hawaii

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Colleges in Hawaii

There are about 20 higher learning facilities in Hawaii.

The list includes both public and private institutions and even specialty schools that offer training programs in alternative medicine and acupuncture.

Despite being quite a small state, Hawaii has enough educational facilities to make your choice pretty challenging.

Looking for a college in Hawaii, students pay attention to such issues as location, affordability, and duration of offered programs.

In this article, we’ve prepared the list of the best colleges in Hawaii that can offer you excellent training programs including 4-year and 2-year courses.

Best Colleges in Hawaii

There are excellent 4-year colleges in all 4 major states in Hawaii.

The most number of higher educational facilities are located in the state’s capital city Honolulu.

Speaking of the main university of the state – University of Hawaii – it has 10 campuses in various locations.

Also, there are lots of amazing private 4-year colleges in the state including such well-known facilities as Brigham-Young University and Hawaii Pacific University where you can find a bunch of specialized alternative programs.

Some colleges in Hawaii was founded with religious affiliations while others are nonsectarian educational facilities.

In fact, the number of postsecondary institutions in Hawaii is not very big but all of them provide a whole variety of different programs.

Most students give preference to public and non-profit colleges as they offer lower tuition fees.

At the same time, tuition fees in private or specialized colleges are significantly higher.

Below, there are some best 4-year colleges in Hawaii.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Laie, HI

COST: low

The Brigham Young University has a campus on Hawaii that located in Honolulu (Oahu) occupies 100 acres.

It is known as an international center of education in the Pacific.

A whole bunch of students from about 70 countries attends this college.

It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that runs the university so the students should follow the university’s code of honor that was created on the basis of the church’s standards.

All courses contain various scientific and religious disciplines so students can develop their professional skills as well as moral, ethical, and spiritual aspects.

It is one of the best colleges in the state and it is highly related to the Polynesian Cultural Center which is a popular tourist attraction.

As a student, at the Brigham Young University, you can apply for a part-time job on campus or at the cultural center.

Among the provided degrees there are such options as business and computing, language and culture, human development, and math and sciences.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI

COST: low

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is located in Honolulu.

It has one of the richest choices of training programs not only in the state but in the USA as well.

The university provides 98 undergraduate majors, 85 graduate majors, 53 doctoral degrees, as well as five first-professional degrees.

Moreover, there is a whole bunch of minors and certificate programs.

If you are interested in ocean and marine science, it is one of the best options for you as the university is known for its researches in this sphere.

Also, it is a part of the coral study held by NASA.

This university is a no-smoking-permitted institution and there is a policy that includes e-cigarettes.

To help students to follow this policy, the college encourages them to use various smoking cessation resources.

University of Hawaii-West Oahu, Kapolei, HI

COST: very low

The University of Hawaii-West Oahu was an upper-division of the West O’ahu College.

Now, it is one of the best colleges in the state with a 24:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The university provides six bachelor’s degrees and seven certificate programs in 33 different study areas.

The curriculum is designed in a way students can get access to both professional and applied content founded on liberal arts.

Also, the university pays attention to the harmonious combination of various ethnic backgrounds and native Hawaiian culture.

Recently, the university founded the STEM Center of Excellence that is supported by the Office of Naval Research.

The center works on a whole variety of projects including lab spaces improvement, facilities management bachelor’s degree improvement, as well as the creation of a portal that measures and displays current weather conditions and seismic activity.

Remington College-Honolulu Campus, Honolulu, HI

COST: high

Remington College – it is a private nonprofit institution that has numerous campuses all over the country.

One of these campuses is located in Honolulu and it is known as one of the best professional school in the state.

There are classes that are available during the day, evening, and even weekends.

The campus of the university is located in the center of an urban community and it closely works with various local organizations and businesses.

It gives students an opportunity to gain some professional experience.

Also, the university works with the Honolulu Police Department, the Hawaii Medical Center, and Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii that provide students with advice on various professional issues.

At this college, you can apply for lots of programs whether it is a diploma, associate, and bachelor’s degree.

Among the available training programs, there are diplomas in massage therapy or medical billing and coding.

Also, you can pursue one of the associate degrees in criminal justice, clinical medical assisting, or business administration, and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and organizational management.

Chaminade University of Honolulu, Honolulu, HI

COST: medium

Chaminade University was founded in 1955 by the Roman Catholic Society of Mary.

It is one of the few Catholic colleges in the state and one of just 3 Marianist colleges in the country.

The college offers about 25 training programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Among the available options, there are liberal arts and humanities, math and science, business and communication, behavioral sciences, nursing, and education.

You can apply for one of the conventional degrees that include English, biology, and accounting, or for one of the unique programs that are environmental and interior design, pastoral theology, and criminal justice administration.

At this university, students can try some great campus services and enroll in a variety of amazing activities including the Office of Student Activities and Leadership.

It’s a great opportunity to try some out-of-classroom and co-curricular activities so you can develop your leadership and communication skills.

Also, there is a campus ministry that provides worship services, special retreats as well as active Christian community services and events.

Best Community Colleges in Hawaii

The number of community colleges and two-year educational institutions has more campuses than four-year universities in Hawaii.

It is a great option for those who look for their first college program as well as for those who are interested in some unique specialties like alternative medicine.

The local colleges have 6 campuses all over the state and some of them are a part of a large network settled bu the University of Hawaii.

If you want to apply for acupuncture and alternative medicine programs, you should know they are available through the Institute for Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the World Medicine Institute.

The state of Hawaii works hard on attracting international students so they work hard and prepare a variety of materials for college students.

In Hawaii, there is a number of some of the world-best science and technology programs.

The U.S. Department of Education claims that most of the two-year schools’ graduates from Hawaii usually have a much higher income than those with only a high-school diploma.

Kapiolani Community College, Honolulu, HI

COST: very low

Being one of the 10 colleges founded by the University of Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College is one of the best colleges in the state.

More than 25 academic programs including those with selective admissions are offered at this college.

Among the most popular options, there are culinary arts, hospitality, health services, and liberal arts and business education.

The campus is located near the Diamond Head crater in Honolulu.

The college doesn’t provide any housing options but you can apply for some accommodation resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Among the available services, there are such options as counseling and advising, programs for Native Hawaiian students, disability services, and study abroad programs.

Also, there is the Alani Children’s Center that provides early-childhood care to children of both students and employees.

Moreover, there operates a Veteran & Military Student Resource Center that’s why the college was able to get the designation of Military Friendly School for 2016.

Leeward Community College, Pearl City, HI

COST: very low

Leeward Community College provides about 60 associate degrees and certificate programs for more than 8000 students.

Being a part of the University of Hawaii Community College System, the college has one of the biggest math and science divisions.

Also, there is the AS in natural science degree which is one of the most promising options in the college.

The college has a transfer program so students can transfer throughout the year.

Leeward is also a member of the Interstate Passport Network so students can transfer their credits easier.

The college has a Native Hawaiian Center and one of the colleges with the biggest number of native Hawaiian students.

Moreover, you’ll be glad to know that it provides the lowest tuition fees in the state as well as a whole variety of payment plans.

If you need some help with your academic success, you can apply for a writing center, math lab, and online tutoring.

Among other services offered on campus, there are a student health center and assistance with job placement.

Honolulu Community College, Honolulu, HI

COST: very low

Honolulu Community College was founded in 1920 and back then it was a small educational facility.

After it, the college was developing constantly and now there are 26 associate degrees and 32 certificates that are offered to 4 300 students.

This college can offer its students a direct transfer to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the University of Hawaii-West Oahu.

If you need help with a transfer, you can apply for transfer assistance, registration info, and academic strategies data.

The main campus of this college is located at the Honolulu’s downtown.

There some facilities that are dedicated to specific programs in aeronautics, automotive and heavy equipment, and marine education.

The faculty ratio there is 15:1 and the tuition fees are really affordable.

If necessary, you can get some career services to get some career counseling appointments, resume writing support, help with on and off-campus employment and interview skill development.

Kauai Community College, Lihue, HI

COST: very low

Kauai Community College offers a variety of training programs that lead to certification, AAS, AS, or AA degrees.

The college is located in the city of Lihue, Kauai Island.

If you want to apply for the hospitality and tourism program, you should remember that you’ll be obliged to complete not only your coursework but 225 additional hours of internship.

After completing an associate degree, students have an opportunity to transfer to the University of Hawaii-West Oahu if they want to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

The college offers some unique programs such as the Kipaipai Program.

It’s exactly these programs that make the college so popular and unique.

Applying for this program, first-year students can get support from coordinators as well as a scholarship for three semesters, a first-year experience handbook, and peer mentor support.

Also, the residents of Kauai and Niihai can apply for the Wai’ale’ale Project that was founded by donors and community foundations.

This program can provide students with free courses and academic support.

Windward Community College, Kaneohe, HI

COST: very low

Windward Community College is located in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

The college offers career-relevant higher education for all students especially if they are Hawaiian residents and native communities representatives.

Among the available options, there are professional development opportunities, certificates, and associate degrees.

Moreover, the college provides not only day-time classes but also night, weekend, online, and hybrid formats.

Distance education is available through the Laulima platform on an asynchronous basis.

There are degrees in such fields as liberal arts, Hawaiian studies, natural science, or veterinary technology.

After completing one of those degrees, you can easily continue your education.

Also, WCC offers various payment plans based on residency status.

The financial aid options include such points as various scholarships.

Among the available services, there are personalized academic advising, student clubs, and career services.

Living in Hawaii

If you want to get your education in Hawaii, you also need to learn about accommodation and living issues there.

To begin with, Hawaii is one of the most unique states in the country.

It is one of the latest states that became part of the USA and it is a complete island territory.

Despite being a part of the USA, geographically it is a part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

It has a tropical climate as well as a unique landscape with its numerous active volcanoes.

Moreover, Hawaii has a unique culture.

Also, being one of 11 US military bases, the state attracts lots of people interested in military service.

Hawaii is a popular destination among students and people who want to study unique local nature.

An average income in this state is about $69 515 per year.

About 30% of Hawaiian residents have at least a bachelor’s degree and 90% have a high-school diploma.

Both these numbers are significantly higher than averages throughout the country.

Below, you can find some key info on the most popular regions in the state.

Regional Spotlight

The Island of Oahu

Major Cities: Honolulu, Wahiawa, Kapolei

Attractions: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, Honolulu Zoo

Popular Schools: the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Chaminade University, Honolulu Community College

The Island of Hawaii and Kauai Island

Major Cities: Hilo, Kauai, Waimea

Attractions: Imiloa Astronomy Center, Wailoa River State Park, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden

Popular Schools: Hawaii Community College, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Kauai Community College


Hawaii is one of the most popular and desirable destinations for living in the USA.

As a result, college admission there is really competitive and the cost of living is one of the highest in the country.

In other words, students can face a bunch of difficulties looking for accommodation there but still, students can apply for various financial aid programs.

If you are 18 or older, you need to have papers that prove state residency.

Those who are under 18 should provide a proof f legal guardian state residency.

For Minors

If you are under 18, you need to prove that your parents are state residents so you can be considered as a state resident as well.

In other words, you need to show that you live in your parent’s household in Hawaii.

If your parents are divorced and only one of them lives in Hawaii, you should reside with the parent that lives in the state.

Also, you need to provide some proofs that highlight your intention to live in your parent’s household until you complete your training.

For Adults

Those students who are 18 or older, need to claim residence if they want to apply for some financial aid or benefits of tuition.

If you want to do it, you must meet some criteria such as:

  • be physically reside in Hawaii for at least a year before declaring residence;
  • prove your intention to make Hawaii your home which means that you cannot to move to Hawaii only to get some cheaper education;
  • prove your financial independence as an adult of legal age.

Additional Resources for Hawaii College Students

College Savings

Education Nonprofits

Higher Education News

Official State Links

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