To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:
- Be an accredited U.S. institution
- Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
- Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
- Be active in the 2015-16 school year
- Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology
We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:
- The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
- Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Dual credit
- Credit for life experience
- Advanced Placement credit
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Offers credit for military training
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- "10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Online University, " Military.com, accessed December 21, 2018,https://www.military.com/education/finding-a-school/10-questions-to-ask-before-selecting-an-online-university.html
- 55 by '25 Campaign, Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, accessed Dec. 21, 2018,http://www.55by25.org/
- Certified Quality Online Courses, University of Hawaii Hilo, accessed December 21, 2018,https://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/dl/QualityOnlineCertifiedCourses.php
- "Educational Attainment in Hawaii," Research Economic Analysis Division, Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, January 2016,https://manoa.hawaii.edu/hepc/educational-attainment-in-hawaii-source-hawaii-state-dept-of-business-economic-development-and-tourism/
- Hawaii Population 2018, World Population Review, accessed Dec. 21, 2018,http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/hawaii-population/
- Hawaii Promise Program, University of Hawaii Community Colleges, accessed December 21, 2018,http://uhcc.hawaii.edu/ovpcc/removing-cost/promise
- Institute for Research on Higher Education. (2016). College Affordability Diagnosis: Hawaii. Philadelphia, PA: Institute for Research on Higher Education, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.https://irhe.gse.upenn.edu/affordability-diagnosis/state_reports
- "Quick Facts: Hawaii," U.S. Census Bureau, July 1, 2018,https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/hi
- UH Scholarship Opportunities, University of Hawaii, accessed December 21, 2018, http://www.hawaii.edu/tuition/scholarships/
- "University of Hawaii System Named Winner in 2016 WCET Outstanding Work Awards," Hobsons.com, Sept. 8, 2016,https://www.hobsons.com/resources/entry/university-of-hawaii-system-named-winner-in-2016-wcet-outstanding-work-awar
- University of Hawaii Manoa Office of Admissions, accessed December 21, 2018,http://manoa.hawaii.edu/admissions/freshman.html
- University of Hawaii West Oahu Admission Requirements, accessed December 21, 2018,https://westoahu.hawaii.edu/apply-and-enroll/admission-requirements/
- University of Hawaii Maui College, How to Apply, accessed December 21, 2018,http://maui.hawaii.edu/how-to-apply/
- Hawaii Pacific University, Admissions Requirements, accessed December 21, 2018, https://www.hpu.edu/undergraduate-admissions/first-year/admissions-requirements.html
Hawaii ,the Aloha State may be small in terms of its actual land area — at just 10,931 square miles — but its educational attainment rates are surprisingly large. Hawaii's percentage of adults who have completed some college or earned degrees are considerably higher than the national average.
But the state still faces challenges. Its workforce is aging — more people are moving out of the state than in, and the median age is 38.5. By 2020, 70 percent of Hawaii's jobs are likely to require some college education. Providing access to higher education presents challenge for many of Hawaii's residents, due to the state's geography; eight islands make up the state, and some programs may not be physically accessible to certain islands' residents.
Online education in Hawaii can help address these issues by providing accessibility, regardless of location, as well as on-time guidance to students of any age or scheduling challenge. Read on to learn more.
Why Earn an Online Degree in Hawaii?
As of 2017, 44.9 percent of Hawaii's residents had college degrees — a respectable number when compared with the rest of U.S. states and certainly higher than the national average of 37 percent. But to address the needs of the workforce, more Hawaiians with a college degree are required, which is why the state's leaders have set the "55 by 25" goal: 55 percent college attainment by 2025.
The state's economy relies on employees with in-demand skills, and online programs make this possible for nontraditional students who otherwise couldn't attend college due to their locations, work or family schedules, military obligations or other physical challenges.
Plus, earning a college degree pays, as research repeatedly demonstrates. According to Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education (which administers the 55 by 25 campaign), Hawaii residents with bachelor's degrees earn $27,000 more per year, on average, than those with only high school diplomas, and are less likely to be unemployed.
Hawaii's cost of living is another factor that makes online education ideal. "Hawaii is an expensive place to live," says Jared Marcum, Director of Online Learning at BYU-Hawaii, adding that, "online education can take some of the edge off of that." Students who want to pursue an online degree in Hawaii can generally do so without moving to the expensive, remote state.
Featured Online Colleges in Hawaii
Students considering online degrees in Hawaii seek programs that suit their educational needs and the unique demands of their lifestyles. So we've created this ranking of the top Hawaii colleges that offer online degree programs, based on such factors online students need to know, such as admissions rates, tuition, student support services and more. Be sure to take a look at our methodology section at the bottom of the page.
Top Online Degree Programs in Hawaii
The National Center for Education Statistics provided the data we've used to develop this list of the top online degree programs in Hawaii, based on number of online enrollments. Popular programs can be an indication of the job market needs.
Quality of Online Education in Hawaii
Because online education is such a crucial part of boosting the state's college attainment rate, the Aloha State's leaders and higher education institutions are actively working to ensure that online students can count on receiving a quality education.
As part of this, Hawaii is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which enables students to attend online colleges in other states that also are members, or for out-of-state students to attend Hawaii schools, while creating a standard of quality for distance education that crosses state lines.
At the school level, the University of Hawaii Hilo is an example of a commitment to quality. It has completed the Quality Online Course Design Certification program, a careful and systematic review of online courses.
Additionally, the University of Hawaii system received a WCET Outstanding Work award from the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education's (WICHE's) Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET). The WOW awards recognize higher education institutions that implement exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to address higher ed challenges.
What to Look for in Online Degree Programs in Hawaii
Here are some factors to consider as you make your choice about online degree programs in Hawaii:
Is the school accredited? A good online school should have national or regional accreditation to ensure consistent quality and stability. Without it, your degree may not be recognized by employers, and you may not be eligible for financial aid.
Does the school offer the degree and instruction you need? If you aspire to a career that requires a bachelor's degree but the school only offers associate degrees, it's not the ideal choice for you. Be sure the school aligns with your goals.
How does the program work? Is it fully online, or is it a hybrid with some face-to-face requirements? Are the online components delivered synchronously (in real time) or asynchronously? And are these the ideal fit for your learning style and needs?
What support services are offered? How much help with you receive from faculty and staff? Are resources such as advisement, counseling, tech support and tutoring available? Can these support services provide you with the help you need?
Top Occupations in Hawaii
Drawing on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we've developed this list of the top occupations in Hawaii.
Number of Workers
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||89,730||$40,800|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||85,770||$37,320|
|Sales and Related Occupations||63,240||$38,400|
|Education, Training, and Library Occupations||43,370||$53,550|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||42,020||$47,450|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||37,720||$35,730|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||31,940||$68,730|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||31,660||$97,870|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||28,450||$70,930|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||25,220||$56,410|
|Personal Care and Service Occupations||23,390||$32,580|
|Protective Service Occupations||20,380||$49,850|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||19,630||$36,730|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Hawaii
If affording college is a concern of yours, it's worth your while to take a bit of time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is required in order to receive any federal aid, and many states and institutions see this as a first step in determining their awards as well.
Although the cost of living in Hawaii is known for being among the highest in the country, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, its higher education institutions have worked hard to make college affordable for the state's residents. In fact, the University of Hawaii Community Colleges are the most affordable two-year institutions in the nation, according to the Institute for Research on Higher Education's College Affordability Diagnosis.
Additionally, the Hawaii Promise program can provide free in-state tuition for eligible students at one of the 10 University of Hawaii Community Colleges. This need-based, "last-dollar" scholarship covers financial needs not met by other forms of financial aid. In 2017-18, it funded an average of $1,200 to about 1,500 students in the state.
The University of Hawaii system also offers an array of campus-specific, community college and university system-wide scholarships. And other private colleges may provide their own grants and scholarships as well, Students should contact their schools of choice for individual information.
Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-19 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
Tests You May Need to Take
Though there is no statewide, required college admissions test that students must take, each individual school has its own admissions requirements, which may or may not include test scores. For example, Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hawaii's Manoa and West Oahu campuses require either SAT or ACT scores, while the university's Maui campus requires only an application (and transcripts for those looking to transfer credit).