Hawaii Schools, Colleges and Universities Overview

There are 16 public and private non-profit schools, colleges and universities within the state of Hawaii. Hawaii offers students a range of school types and degree options, with schools located in widely different settings, with half of these institutions based in the state capital, Honolulu.

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Students who want to study in Hawaii have their choice of programs at two- and four-year schools, which range from those awarding undergraduate certificates to doctoral degrees. Here we use data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to compare schools across four important categories: their location, student population numbers, cost and graduation rates.

Hawaii Schools Near Large Cities

Hawaii has institutions situated in large cities, medium-sized towns and in remote areas. There are eight schools based in Hawaii's largest city, Honolulu, on the island of O'ahu. While there are schools based in large suburbs, there are no other schools in major cities, so if being close to a large city is important to you, then you may want to consider one of Honolulu's schools.

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu)
  • Hawaii Pacific University (Honolulu)
  • Remington College-Honolulu Campus (Honolulu)
  • Honolulu Community College (Honolulu)
  • Chaminade University of Honolulu (Honolulu)

Largest Schools in Hawaii

Unsurprisingly, four of the five largest schools in Hawaii are based in Honolulu, with the one exception of Leeward Community College, which is found in Pearl City, which is also on O'ahu. These schools are all public, with the exception of Hawaii Pacific University. The student enrollment numbers of the largest schools as of 2015, according to the NCES, are as follows:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa - Honolulu (18,865 students)
  • Kapiolani Community College - Honolulu (7,816 students)
  • Leeward Community College - Pearl City (7,535 students)
  • Hawaii Pacific University - Honolulu (4,781 students)
  • Honolulu Community College - Honolulu (4,328 students)

Schools with Lowest Net Price

Cost is a major deciding factor for many students when selecting a school. The NCES calculates the average net price for first-time undergraduates attending school full-time by subtracting financial aid awards from the total cost of attendance, which includes room and board, tuition, books and fees. The five most affordable schools in Hawaii are mostly 2-year colleges, and are spread across four different cities. These schools had the cheapest tuition according to 2014-2015 NCES data:

  • Leeward Community College - Pearl City ($2,182)
  • Kapiolani Community College - Honolulu ($4,670)
  • Honolulu Community College - Honolulu ($5,491)
  • Kauai Community College - Lihue ($6,220)
  • University of Hawaii Maui College - Kahului ($6,366)

Schools with Highest Graduation Rates

Graduation rates are calculated by the NCES to track the percentage of new full-time undergraduates who graduate within 150% of the normal time for their programs, which would be six years for a bachelor's degree and three years for two-year programs. Graduation rates can be a possible indicator of student satisfaction, as well as an institution's commitment towards its students. These are the five schools in Hawaii with the top graduation rates, according to data from the 2014-2015 academic year:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa - Honolulu (57% graduation rate)
  • Remington College-Honolulu Campus (53% graduation rate)
  • Brigham Young University-Hawaii - Laie (50% graduation rate)
  • Hawaii Pacific University - Honolulu (49% graduation rate)
  • Chaminade University of Honolulu (47% graduation rate)

Students planning or considering study in Hawaii will find a range of schools available, and this guide can help them narrow their choices based on their school's desired location, population size, course costs and graduation rates.

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