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Best Community Colleges in Hawaii: Admission Requirements, Transfer Options, and Online Degrees

Astrid Longi - June 17, 2022


There are many reasons to study at community colleges in Hawaii. Hawaii has natural beauty, diverse culture, and some of the most exciting educational and professional opportunities in the US. Some of the best community colleges in Hawaii are Honolulu Community College, Kaua’i Community College, and Leeward Community College.

This article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about community colleges in Hawaii. From application requirements to transfer options to the best online community colleges in Hawaii, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out what programs are offered at the best community colleges in Hawaii and what you can expect after graduating from a community college in Hawaii.

How Many Community Colleges Are in Hawaii?

There are nine community colleges in Hawaii. All of the community colleges in Hawaii are connected through the University of Hawaii community college system. These nine colleges are located across four of the major Hawaiian islands.

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How Many Community College Districts Are in Hawaii?

There are no community college districts in Hawaii. All eight community colleges in Hawaii are part of the UH system. This means these schools share the same values and mission.

What Is the Biggest Community College in Hawaii?

The biggest community college in Hawaii is Kapiʻolani Community College, located in Honolulu. This school is on the slopes of Diamond Head Crater, just a couple of minutes away from the beach, Waikiki, and downtown Honolulu. Over 6,300 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in this institution, and it has a 17 to one student-to-teacher ratio.

What Are the Best Community Colleges in Hawaii?

Ranking Community College Graduation Rate Student-to-Faculty Ratio
1 Hawaii Medical College 83% 25:1
2 Hawaii Community College 34% 13:1
3 Hawaiʻi Community College – Pālamanui 34% 13:1
4 University of Hawaii – Maui College 31% 16:1
5 Kaua’i Community College 30% 11:1
6 Leeward Community College 27% 20:1
7 Kapi’olani Community College 25% 17:1
8 Windward Community College 24% 16:1
9 Honolulu Community College 23% 15:1

The Best Community Colleges in Hawaii: Explained

It can be difficult to choose one of the best community colleges in Hawaii. There are many factors to consider, including a school’s tuition averages, what percent of students graduate, and career options available to graduates. In this section, we specifically focus on these schools’ graduation rates, tuition rates, financial aid opportunities, student populations, and undergraduate degree programs to help you make an informed decision about your education.

1

Hawaii Medical College

Grad Rate: 83%

Hawaii Medical College is a private institution that was founded in 2007. This school offers a variety of associate degree programs in healthcare fields. HMC has an open admissions policy and offers students the opportunity to pursue their degrees either in-person or through hybrid or fully-online programs.

Hawaii Medical College Overview

  • Tuition: $21,704/ per year
  • Student Population: 150
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 25:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best Hawaii Medical College Programs

  • Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate. HMC offers two programs in clinical medical assistance and medical billing and coding. These programs can be completed in 12 to 15 months. Upon completion, students can pursue entry-level employment in the healthcare field or transfer to an undergraduate degree program.
  • Business and Information Technologies Certification. This fully online certification can be completed in 12 to 15 months. Students enrolled in this program will gain foundational knowledge in business, project management, accounting, computer sciences, and web design. They’ll also be able to participate in paid externships.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Clinical Medical Assistance. This associate degree program can be completed in only 22 months. HMC offers students hands-on learning and lifetime job placement assistance. Upon completion, students enrolled in this program will have the knowledge and skills required to pass the CCMA certification exam and pursue employment as health aides.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Billing and Coding. This two-year program is designed to help students gain the coding skills necessary to pursue a career in healthcare. Upon completion, students will be prepared for the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist Examination conducted by the National Healthcareer Association.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health and Human Services. This two-year program gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a variety of entry-level positions in healthcare and social work. This program has three areas of study including professional communication, leadership, and professional development.
2

Hawaii Community College

Grad Rate: 34%

Hawaii Community College was established in 1941, under the name Hawaii Vocational School. In 1970, this institution joined the University of Hawaii system. Located in Hilo, it now offers 26 associate degree and certificate programs. Hawaii Community College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Hawaii Community College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 2,430
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 76%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best Hawaii Community College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Architecture, Engineering and Construction Technologies. This 66-credit associate degree program consists of 22 courses in mathematics, architecture, engineering, and construction technologies. The aim of this program is to prepare students for employment in the construction industry.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. This associate degree program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Graduates of this program will be prepared for entry-level positions in the food industry. Hawaii Community College also offers a certificate of competence and a certificate of achievement in culinary arts.
  • Associate of Science in Information Technology. This 62-credit associate degree program is designed for students that want to pursue entry-level positions in IT or transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in this field of study. This school also offers Certificates of Competency in Computer Support and Information Security and assurance.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Marketing. This 61-credit associate degree program  prepares students to work in marketing or transfer to a baccalaureate degree program. A 40-credit certificate of achievement in marketing is also offered at Hawaii Community College.
  • Associate of Science in Nursing. This associate degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Upon completion of this program, students will be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing. Hawaii Community College also offers a Certificate of Achievement in Nursing.
3

Hawaii Community College - Pālamanui

Grad Rate: 34%

The Pālamanui campus of Hawaii Community College, which is located in North Kona, was established in 2015. This two-year institution offers a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs at affordable tuition rates. Hawaii Community College – Pālamanui serves as a University of Hawaii center, offering numerous undergraduate and graduate degree programs, through hybrid and online programs.

Hawaiʻi Community College - Pālamanui Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 2,430
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 76%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best Hawaiʻi Community College -Pālamanui Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Hawaiian Studies. This two-year associate degree program covers a wide range of topics such as Hawaiian linguistics, history, culture, and politics. In order to graduate, students must complete a total of 62 credits and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. Upon completion, students can directly transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. This two-year associate degree program is designed for students that want to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. Students enrolled can choose between five concentration options, which include psychology, sociology, history, art, and administration of justice.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. This two-year associate degree program gives students the skills they need to be eligible for entry-level positions in the food industry. Since 2005, this program has been accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Students must complete 67 credits and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to graduate.
  • Associate of Science in Administration of Justice. After completing this two-year associate degree program students will be able to pursue careers in criminal justice. Students are required to complete 61 credits and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate from this program.
  • Associate of Science in Fire Science. This five-semester associate degree program prepares students for employment in the fire service field. Upon completion, students can also choose to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. A total of 70 credits are required for the completion of this program.
4

University of Hawaii - Maui College

Grad Rate: 31%

University of Hawaii Maui College was established in 1931 as the Maui Vocational School. In 1965 it was incorporated into the University of Hawaii system. UHMC offers more than 20 programs in fields such as business, agriculture, and engineering. Students enrolled in this school can pursue certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.

University of Hawaii - Maui College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 2,936
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 80%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best University of Hawaiʻi - Maui College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture and Natural Resources. This two-year associate degree program has three academic tracks. These include Crop Production, Landscaping, and Resource Management. After they graduate, students can pursue employment or transfer to a baccalaureate program. Students enrolled in this program can pursue a variety of specializations, including beekeeping.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technology. This two-year program trains students to work in the construction industry. There are opportunities to explore different trades before selecting a specialization such as carpentry, drafting, welding, or architectural engineering.
  • Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene. This associate degree program is accredited by the Council of Postsecondary Accreditation and the US Council of Education. The program is designed to allow students to gain employment after they graduate. Upon graduation, students will be eligible to take the National Board of Dental Hygiene National Clinical Examination.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Information Technology. This four-year program gives you the experience you need to pursue employment in a variety of industries. Students enrolled in this program can also pursue certificates in fields such as cybersecurity and data science to complement their degrees.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Science Management. This 120-credit program offers an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable science. Students enrolled in this program can pursue a concentration in marine science. Upon completion, students can pursue a graduate degree program or employment in a variety of industries.
5

Kauaʻi Community College

Grad Rate: 30%

Kaua’i Community College is a public institution that was founded in 1965. It is located on the island of Kauaʻi and now has approximately 1,500 students. This community college offers more than 20 associate degree programs and more than 50 certificate programs in 12 different fields, including liberal arts, humanities, and healthcare.

Kaua ʻi Community College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 1,461
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 84%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum required

Best Kauaʻi Community College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting. This two-year program provides training that will allow students to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program or pursue employment upon graduation. In order to get their degree, students must complete 61 credits with a grade of C or higher in all their courses.
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education. This 60-credit associate degree program allows its students to work in education. Graduates will be eligible for positions like a preschool teacher or assistant teacher. This degree can also be used to pursue a bachelor’s degree. It meets the professional licensure requirements of the state of Hawaii.
  • Associate of Science in Electronics Technology. This 61-credit associate degree program will give students vital knowledge in areas like electronics, computer technology, programming, and networks. Graduates will have the skills necessary to pursue employment or to transfer to a baccalaureate program.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality and Tourism. This two-year associate degree program gives students experience that will make them eligible to work in  hospitality. Upon completion, students enrolled in this program can transfer directly to various baccalaureate programs across the University of Hawaii system.
  • Associate of Science in Nursing. This two-year program prepares students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to gain licensure as registered nurses. In order to graduate, students must complete the program with 61 credits and must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75.
6

Leeward Community College

Grad Rate: 27%

Leeward Community College was established in 1968. This school is located in the center of Oahu, between Pearl City and Waipahu. Leeward Community College offers numerous certificates and associate degrees in areas of study such as STEM, agricultural science, and business management.

Leeward Community College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 6,363
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 67%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum required

Best Leeward Community College Programs

  • Associate of Science in Teaching. With this 62-credit associate degree program, students will gain important teaching skills and the knowledge required to pursue entry-level positions in education or to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. Upon graduation, students will be able to join the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) as qualified para-educators.
  • Associate of Science in Nursing. This two-year associate degree program is offered by Leeward Community College in association with Kapiʻolani Community College. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. In order to graduate, students must complete 72-73 credits.
  • Associate of Science in Information and Computer Science. By completing this 60-credit associate degree program, students will gain the skills required to pursue employment in the IT and computer science industries. Students enrolled in this program can choose between specializations in either network support, information security, or software development.
  • Associate of Science in Sustainable Agriculture. This two-year program aims to prepare students for employment in agriculture. Students enrolled in this program will gain expertise in areas like sustainable crop production, pest control food systems, and agriculture. A total of 60 credits are required for the completion of this program.
  • Associate of Science in Health Information Technology. With this two-year associate degree program, students will gain the skills necessary to pursue entry-level employment in a variety of healthcare organizations. In order to get this degree, students must complete 61 credits and pass all the required courses with a minimum grade of C.
7

Kapi’olani Community College

Grad Rate: 25%

Kapi‘olani Community College was established in 1946 as the Kapi‘olani Technical School. This two-year institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Kapi’olani Community Colleges offers a variety of in-person and online associate degree programs in business, hospitality, health, law, education, arts, and sciences.

Kapiʻolani Community College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 6,369
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 76%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best Kapiʻolani Community College Programs

  • Associate of Science in Accounting. This two-year, 60 to 65-credit program gives students the skills they need to be eligible for paraprofessional and entry-level positions in accounting. It also allows graduates to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program. Students enrolled in this program can pursue a preparation class for the Online Quickbooks Pro industry certification.
  • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting. This associate degree program prepares students for assistant positions in healthcare. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Between 72 and 73 credits are required for the completion of this program. Upon graduation, students can pursue the national certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants.
  • Associate of Science in Nursing. This associate degree program starts students on a nursing career path. Upon graduation, students will be eligible to take the National Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). A total of 72-73 credits are required for the completion of this program.
  • Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assisting. This associate degree teaches students everything they need to know to gain licensure and employment as physical therapist assistants. Between 72 and 73 credits are required for the completion of this program. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. This 60-credit associate degree program can be completed fully online. Upon completion, graduates from this program will have the knowledge necessary to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. This program offers 10 concentration options in fields like business, education, and psychology.
8

Windward Community College

Grad Rate: 24%

Windward Community College was founded in 1972. This two-year institution offers seven undergraduate certificates and four associate degree programs. Windward Community College specializes in fields such as creative arts, environmental sciences, and Hawaiian studies.

Windward Community College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 2,299
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 73%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best Windward Community College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Hawaiian Studies. This 60-credit associate degree program aims to provide students with foundational knowledge in Hawaiian culture. Upon completion, students can enter a variety of bachelor’s degree programs in liberal arts or Hawaiian studies.
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. This two-year program requires 60 credits for its completion and makes graduates eligible to transfer to baccalaureate programs in liberal arts. Students enrolled in this program can study exploratory majors, such as business and social sciences.
  • Associate of Science in Natural Science. This 60-credit associate degree program prepares students to pursue employment or further undergraduate education in STEM. Students enrolled in this program can choose to pursue a concentration in biology, physical sciences, engineering, or information and communication technology.
  • Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology. This hands-on associate degree program requires 73 credits for its completion. Students enrolled in this program will be able to work in numerous positions in the veterinary field after graduation. This program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
  • Academic Subject Certificate in General Music. Windward Community College is home to the Hawaii Music Institute. This academic certificate gives students foundational knowledge that will help them pursue careers in the music industry. Students will learn the foundations of Polynesian, Hawaiian, and western music. A total of 25 credits are required for the completion of this program.
9

Honolulu Community College

Grad Rate: 23%

Honolulu Community College was founded in 1920. In 1964 it became part of the University of Hawaii system. This school offers associate degrees in liberal arts, as well as numerous vocational and technical programs. Honolulu Community College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Honolulu Community College Overview

  • Tuition: $131/credit hour (in district); $345/credit hour (out of district)
  • Student Population: 3,378
  • Percent Receiving Financial Aid: 78%
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
  • Minimum GPA Requirement: No minimum requirement

Best Honolulu Community College Programs

  • Associate of Science in Aeronautics Maintenance Technology. This five-semester program is designed to prepare students for the Federal Aviation Administration certification in aircraft airframe and powerplant mechanics. 72 credits are required for the completion of this associate degree program. Upon completion, students can pursue employment in the aircraft industry or transfer to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.
  • Associate of Science in Communication Arts. This two-year program aims to give students the knowledge and skills required to pursue entry-level positions in the graphic design, visual communication, advertising, and publishing industries. A minimum of 64 credits are required for the completion of this associate degree program.
  • Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Technology. This 61-credit program can be completed in two years. This program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of positions in the fashion industry. Honolulu Community College also offers a Certificate of Achievement and a Certificate of Competence in Fashion Technology.
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. This two-year program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue higher education. Students enrolled in this program can take courses in humanities, computer science, foreign languages, mathematics, social sciences, and natural sciences.
  • Associate of Science in Natural Sciences. This two-year program is designed for students that want to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program in STEM. This program requires 60 credits from general education courses, core courses, and electives. Students enrolled in this program can pursue one of two concentration options. These include physical science or engineering.

Best Online Community Colleges in Hawaii

  1. Hawaii Community College – Pālamanui. As a University of Hawaii Center, Hawaii Community College at Pālamanui is one of the best online community colleges in Hawaii. It offers numerous undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are available to students through online and hybrid formats. All these programs are in accordance with the standards of University of Hawaii.
  2. Hawaii Medical College. This school offers a variety of online and hybrid programs. The Business and Information Technologies Program can be completed fully online in as little as 12 months. Hawaii Medical College offers education and training in healthcare with more flexibility than traditional schools.
  3. Kapi‘olani Community College. This community college offers numerous online classes and certificates in fields such as sustainability, IT, accounting, and business management. It also offers three fully online associate degree programs. Kapi‘olani Community College’s distance education programs let you pursue a college education with flexibility, making it another one of the best online community colleges in Hawaii.

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Other Hawaii Community College Rankings

Community colleges in Hawaii offer a wide variety of undergraduate, graduate, and associate-level degrees. In order to help you narrow down your school search, we’ve ranked some of the best community colleges in Hawaii. We look specifically at the best community colleges in Hawaii for transfers, nursing, and students seeking bachelor’s degrees.

Best Community Colleges in Hawaii for Transfer

  1. Honolulu Community College. Most of Honolulu Community College’s associate degree programs are designed to prepare students to transfer to a baccalaureate program upon graduation. As part of the UH community college system, students enrolled at Honolulu Community College can directly transfer to a variety of four-year institutions in Hawaii.
  2. Kaua’i Community College. All of this school’s associate degree programs aim to prepare students to pursue further undergraduate education. Students enrolled in any of Kauaʻi Community College’s associate degree programs will have the knowledge required to transfer directly to any baccalaureate program across the University of Hawaii system.
  3. Windward Community College. This school offers a variety of two-year associate degrees in fields such as creative arts, environmental sciences, and Hawaiian studies. Windward Community Colleges’s programs aim to prepare students for employment upon graduation, as well as for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs in universities in Hawaii and across the US.

Best Community Colleges for Nursing in Hawaii

  1. Hawaii Community College. This school offers an associate degree in nursing that aims to prepare students for employment in the healthcare industry. Upon completion of this program, students will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing.
  2. Kapi’olani Community College. Kapi’olani Community College offers a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing designed to prepare students to pursue employment upon graduation. Once they complete this program, students will be prepared to pursue the National Licensure Examination to become registered nurses.
  3. Leeward Community College. This school offers an Associate of Science in Nursing. This two-year program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Upon graduation, students will have the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue positions in the nursing field.

Best Hawaii Community Colleges That Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

  1. University of Hawaii at Hilo. This four-year institution offers 36 bachelor’s degrees in areas of study like psychology, mathematics, and nursing. Students enrolled at any community college in the UH system can transfer directly to this school. UH Hilo has been ranked number 147 among the top public schools by the US News & World Report.
  2. University of Hawaii at Manoa. This school offers 100 bachelor’s degree programs in fields like business, marketing, biology, healthcare, and social sciences. It also offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in design, economics, and women’s studies. Through its outreach college program, UH Manoa provides flexible scheduling and alternative programs to meet the needs of its students.
  3. University of Hawaiʻi – Maui College. This school offers two bachelor’s degree programs. Maui College’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Information Technology is designed to prepare students for employment upon graduation. Its Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Science Management is designed for students that want to pursue further graduate education.

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Best Community College Programs in Hawaii

Two people look at a notebook while sitting on grass
Some of the best community college programs in Hawaii include nursing, teaching, culinary arts, and hospitality.

The best community college programs in Hawaii are nursing, culinary arts, education, natural sciences, and Hawaiian studies. Pursuing an associate degree in any of these fields of study will lead you to great career outcomes. In the next section, we’ll discuss the best community colleges for these majors in Hawaii and the employment outcomes you can expect.

Nursing

The best community colleges for nursing in Hawaii are Hawaii Community College, Kaua’i Community College, and Leeward Community College. All of these schools offer a certificate of achievement and an Associate of Science in Nursing. These programs are all designed to prepare students for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing.

Culinary Arts

The best community colleges for culinary arts are UH Maui College and Hawaii Community College. These schools offer undergraduate certificates and associate-level programs in culinary arts. These programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Upon completion, students will have the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue employment in the food industry.

Education

Kaua’i Community College and Leeward Community College are some of the best community colleges in Hawaii for teaching. These schools offer associate of science degrees in early childhood education and general teaching. Undergraduate students enrolled in these two-year degrees will be able to pursue entry-level employment upon graduation. Graduates can join the Hawaii Department of Education as paraeducators, or transfer to any of the four-year universities in the UH system.

Natural Sciences

Schools like Honolulu Community College and Windward Community College offer Certificates of Achievement and Associate Degrees in Natural Science. These programs are designed for students who want to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program upon graduation. Students who attend Windward Community College can pursue a concentration in biology, physical sciences, engineering, or information and communication technology. UH Maui College also offers a bachelor’s degree in sustainable science management with a concentration in marine science.

Hawaiian Studies

Hawaiian cultural studies is one of the many major tracks available in most UH system community colleges, such as Hawaii Community College. Students who pursue an associate of arts degree in this field of study are to be able to pursue a baccalaureate program upon completion of their degree. Students can also pursue professional certification in Hawaiian Music Studies at Windward Community College.

Hawaii Community College Admission Requirements

The most common admission requirements to attend a community college in Hawaii are being at least 18 years old and submitting all relevant documentation such as academic transcripts, high school diploma, residency status, and standardized test scores. It’s important to check the admission requirements before applying to make sure you have everything you need.

Hawaii Community College GPA Requirements

The majority of community colleges in Hawaii don’t have GPA requirements. All the community colleges that are part of the University of Hawaii system are open admission policy institutions. This means that any student who applies is accepted.

Residency Requirements for Community Colleges in Hawaii

All community colleges in Hawaii have residency requirements for admission and for payment of resident tuition. In order to be considered a resident, students must meet one of two criteria. They must have been physically present in the state of Hawaii for at least 12 months prior to the beginning of the semester, or demonstrate an intent to make Hawaii their permanent residence.

Applicants who can prove they are residents of Hawaii have more affordable tuition rates.

The average tuition costs for residents are $131 per credit hour, while the credit hour charge for non-residents is $345. These tuition rates are the same for all of the community colleges that are part of the UH system. Nonresident applicants also have to pay a $25 nonrefundable application fee that residents don’t have to pay.

Hawaii Community College Age Requirements

The Hawaii community college age requirement is 18 years old. Most community colleges that are part of the UH system have an early admission program for high school students who want to apply to these community colleges before graduating. Even in this case, students are required to be 18 years old when classes begin.

Hawaii Community College Admission Requirements: A Summary

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Send official academic transcripts
  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent
  • Provide standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
  • Complete the health clearance form

Why Study in Hawaii?

You should study in Hawaii because community colleges in this state offer numerous certificates and associate degree-level programs in highly demanded fields of study. The best community colleges in Hawaii offer academic quality with affordable tuition rates. Moreover, Hawaii offers a beautiful natural environment and the opportunity to learn about its culture and art.

Cost of Education

The annual tuition rates for community colleges in Hawaii are cheaper than the national average. Some of the best community colleges in Hawaii offer scholarships, grants, and tuition waivers to students with financial aid needs. If you’re a resident, you already have access to extremely competitive tuition rates.

Natural Environment

Hawaii offers a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 78 degrees during the winter. Hawaii’s geographically diverse landscape includes the alpine regions of Hawaii and Maui and a variety of native wildlife. Its natural beauty makes it the perfect setting for students that enjoy warmer weather and spending time in nature.

Art and Culture

Community college students in Hawaii are able to immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture. Students will have the opportunity to learn about art such as feather work, petroglyphs, wood and stone carvings, and tattoos. Thanks to some programs offered in the UH system, community college students are able to study Hawaiian culture and music.

Hawaii Employment Outlook for Community College Students

The employment outlook for community college students in Hawaii is good. Hawaii’s average salary for associate degree-holders is around $36,000 per year, which is above the national average. Poverty rates in Hawaii are also lower than the national average for people who have associate degrees. Career outcomes for Hawaii community college graduates include nursing, dental health, and teaching.

5 In-Demand Hawaii Jobs

Some of the most in-demand Hawaii professionals are nurses, preschool teachers, environmental science experts, and protection technicians. Hospitality and leisure is an industry that also has a lot of employment opportunities with openings for cooks, lodging managers, and food service managers. Overall, job prospects for graduates of the best community colleges in Hawaii are positive.

1

Preschool Teacher

Average Salary: $30,210

Preschool teachers educate and care for children up to the age of five. Their daily duties include planning and preparing learning activities, tidying up their classroom, and developing a curriculum that ensures the children’s development. Community college students pursuing a degree in early childhood education or in teaching don’t need further education to become preschool teachers.

  • Average Salary in Hawaii: $30,210
  • Employment in Hawaii: 950
  • Overall Job Growth: 18%
  • Best Hawaii Community College Program: Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education, Associate of Science in Teaching
2

Food Service Manager

Average Salary: $59,440

These professionals are responsible for coordinating the daily operations of establishments such as restaurants or hotel kitchens to ensure customers receive a high-quality experience. Their duties include overseeing kitchen operations, scheduling staff hours, and managing budgets. In order to become food service managers, community college students can gain experience by pursuing entry-level positions in the food industry or transferring to a bachelor’s degree program.

  • Average Salary in Hawaii: $59,440
  • Employment in Hawaii: 550
  • Overall Job Growth: 15%
  • Best Hawaii Community College Program: Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
3

Registered Nurse

Average Salary: $77,600

Registered nurses are responsible for providing care to patients. In order to do this, these professionals assess patients’ conditions, check and record their medical histories, and administer medications and treatments. Associate degree-holders can become registered nurses by taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing.

  • Average Salary in Hawaii: $77,600
  • Employment in Hawaii: 11,110
  • Overall Job Growth: 9 %
  • Best Hawaii Community College Program: Associate of Science in Nursing
4

Lodging Manager

Average Salary: $59,430

Lodging managers are in charge of ensuring guests have a pleasant experience in hotels and resorts. They are responsible for the inspection of rooms and public areas to ensure they remain clean. They also coordinate staff members and manage the finances of the organization. Students enrolled in associate degrees in Hawaiian Studies can become lodging managers by getting a certificate in hotel management or a bachelor’s degree in the field.

  • Average Salary in Hawaii: $59,430
  • Employment in Hawaii: 150
  • Overall Job Growth: 9%
  • Best Hawaii Community College Program: Associate of Arts in Hawaiian Studies, Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality and Tourism
5

Environmental Scientist

Average Salary: $76,530

These professionals apply their knowledge of natural science by developing plans and projects that help preserve the environment. They conduct research, collect environmental data and samples, and provide guidance to businesses and to the government. In order to become an environmental scientist, community college students must pursue further baccalaureate education in a field like natural sciences or sustainability.

  • Average Salary in Hawaii: $76,530
  • Employment in Hawaii: 420
  • Overall Job Growth: 8%
  • Best Hawaii Community College Program: Associate of Science in Natural Science

What Community Colleges in Hawaii Have Dorms?

No community colleges in Hawaii have dorms. But, Hawaii Community College and Kapi’olani Community College offer alternative housing services. Students enrolled in these schools can apply for off-campus housing at UH Hilo and UH Mānoa dorms. Housing costs at these universities range from as low as $1,772 and as high as $12,880 per semester.

What Community Colleges Offer Winter Intersession in Hawaii?

No community colleges in Hawaii offer winter intersession. Winter classes are typically held in January between the fall and spring semesters. These accelerated-format courses offer flexible enrollment options and are a great way of graduating faster. Even though community colleges in Hawaii don’t offer winter intersession, they offer summer classes, which are a great alternative.

What Community Colleges in Hawaii Have Summer Classes?

Most community colleges in Hawaii have summer classes. Summer classes are great for students that want to stay on track or get ahead in their programs. Summer classes can also be a requirement in some degree programs, such as the Associate of Science in Nursing program offered by Kaua’i Community College. Other Hawaii Community Colleges that have summer classes include Honolulu Community College and Windward Community College.

Hawaii Community Colleges With Summer Classes

  1. Honolulu Community College
  2. Kaua’i Community College
  3. Kapi’olani Community College
  4. Leeward Community College
  5. University of Hawaiʻi – Maui College
  6. Windward Community College

How to Apply to Community College in Hawaii

You can apply to community college in Hawaii by submitting your application, paying the application fee, and submitting all the requested paperwork, academic transcripts, and standardized test scores. All the community colleges that are part of the University of Hawaii systems also require you to submit health clearance forms. Once you have completed these steps, you just have to wait for your acceptance letter.

Hawaii Community College Application Steps

  1. Submit your application online or in person.
  2. Pay the application fee.
  3. Check your residency status.
  4. Apply for financial aid.
  5. Submit official academic transcripts.
  6. Submit your high school diploma or GED certification.
  7. Submit standardized test scores.
  8. Submit the Health Clearance Form.

Cost of Community Colleges in Hawaii

The annual tuition cost of Community College in Hawaii is $3,225 for residents, and $8,391 for non-residents per year, according to the NCES. Community Colleges that are part of the UH system have affordable tuition rates. They charge $131 per credit hour for residents and  $345 per credit hour for students that aren’t residents of Hawaii.

Are Community Colleges Ever Free in Hawaii?

Yes, you can attend community college in Hawaii for free thanks to programs like the Hawaii Promise Program. Community colleges in Hawaii offer also affordable tuition rates. If you supplement these low rates with some of the numerous grants, scholarships, and aid that are available to students who are in need, it is possible to study at community colleges in Hawaii for free.

Which Community Colleges Are Free in Hawaii?

All of the community colleges in Hawaii offer the Hawaii Promise scholarship, meaning they are all free for eligible students. All of these schools also offer financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Your cost of education could potentially be covered by a combination of different types of aid making community college in Hawaii free.

Who Qualifies for Free Community College in Hawaii?

Any student enrolled in a community college in Hawaii who meets the eligibility criteria qualifies for financial aid. Students are considered for federal, state, and private financial aid programs and scholarships when they submit their FAFSA application along with their application to the school. In the case of the Hawaii Promise Program, only Hawaii residents qualify.

How to Apply for Free Community College in Hawaii

  1. Apply for admission to any community college in the UH system.
  2. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  3. Be admitted into a UH program.
  4. Contact the financial aid office of your campus for information about the different types of financial aid available to you.
  5. Fill out the required forms to apply to scholarships like the UH system Common Scholarships and the Hawaii Promise Scholarship.

Scholarships for Community Colleges in Hawaii

There are plenty of scholarships for community colleges in Hawaii. The UH system offers need and merit-based financial aid awards, scholarships for specific majors, and various campus-specific scholarships. Hawaii residents can apply for the Hawaii Promise Program, which covers tuition and other expenses.

How to Get a Scholarship for Community Colleges in Hawaii

  1. Submit the FAFSA form.
  2. Browse the school’s website or contact the financial aid office for information about available scholarships.
  3. Check the eligibility requirements for the available scholarships.
  4. Apply online for UH system scholarships or for campus-specific scholarships.
  5. Submit required documentation such as personal essays, letters of recommendation, and official academic transcripts.
  6. If you are a resident of Hawaii, submit an application to the Hawaii Promise Scholarship, State of Hawaii B Plus Scholarship, and The Second Century Scholarship.

Hawaii Community College Scholarships List

  • UH System Common Scholarships | Amount: varies. These scholarships are awarded by the Financial Aid Office of the University of Hawaii system through the UH Foundation. These scholarships are available to any degree-seeking student enrolled in any UH system community college. Approximately $5,000,000 are awarded every year to students across the UH system.
  • State of Hawaii B Plus Scholarship | Amount: varies. This state scholarship is awarded to students that graduated from a State of Hawaii high school with a cumulative GPA or 3.0 or higher. Although only freshmen with financial need can apply to this scholarship, it may be renewed annually for up to four years.
  • Hawaii Promise Scholarship | Amount: Varies, up to the full cost of tuition. This need-based scholarship provides financial aid for Hawaii residents enrolled in UH system community colleges. This is a “last dollar” scholarship, which means that it’s applied once all other grants and scholarships have been awarded to a student.

Other Hawaii Community College Financial Aid Options

Aside from scholarships, there are many other Hawaii community college financial aid options available to students with financial needs. Hawaii community colleges offer students the ability to apply for federal and state grants, as well as for tuition waivers. Other financial aid options are student loans and work-study jobs.

Federal Grants

Grants are a form of financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. Associate degree-seeking students enrolled in any community college in Hawaii can apply to the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). A maximum of $2,000 per year is awarded to students that are enrolled at least half-time in any UH system community college. Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program can apply for the Federal Pell Grant.

Hawaii Grants

A variety of state grants are available to students pursuing a degree in a community college in Hawaii. The UH Opportunity Grant is awarded to students with financial needs who are enrolled at least part-time in any UH system community college. Another option is the Hawaii Community College Achievement Grant, which is awarded to students who have made significant achievements or have performed significant service for their school.

Student Loans

Student loans are money you borrow to pay for tuition and other expenses needed to attend a community college. The amount borrowed must be repaid along with accrued interest. There are four types of federal student loans. These include direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, direct PLUS loans, and direct consolidation loans. Private student loans can be issued by institutions such as banks, credit unions, and private lenders. Interest rates differ depending on the lender.

Tuition Waiver

A tuition waiver is a financial aid option granted by an institution to students in need. The school waives part or all of the tuition costs through tuition waivers. UH system community colleges offer a tuition waiver to students who are of Hawaiian ancestry.

Work-Study Jobs

Work-study jobs are part of a federal aid program that allows students to work part-time to earn money for their education. Most of the employment is community service work or work related to the student’s field of study. This financing option is only available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in schools that participate in the Federal Work-Study Program.

The Best Financial Aid for Your Situation

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What Are the Financial Aid Requirements for Community Colleges in Hawaii?

Financial aid requirements for community colleges in Hawaii include proof of financial need, a high school diploma or equivalent, enrollment in a UH system community college, and satisfactory academic progress. Community Colleges that are part of the UH system follow the same requirements as the US Department of Education’s FAFSA for their financial aid programs.

Hawaii Financial Aid Requirements: Overview

  • Demonstrate financial need
  • High school diploma, GED, or the equivalent
  • Enrollment or acceptance in a UH system school
  • US citizenship or non-citizen eligibility
  • Satisfactory academic progress

Should You Attend Community College in Hawaii?

Yes, you should attend community college in Hawaii if you want to pursue an associate degree in a field like nursing, computer science, education, psychology, Hawaiian studies, natural sciences, or culinary arts. Community colleges in Hawaii offer quality education at affordable tuition rates, so you will be making a smart financial investment by attending one of the best community colleges in Hawaii. Last but not least, the state of Hawaii is a beautiful place to live and study.

Hawaii Community College Rankings: Methodology

Our ranking of Hawaii community colleges is based mainly on the graduation rate. If graduation rate statistics were not available, we used data on student-to-faculty ratios to rank the remaining schools. These figures, sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), best reflect a student’s chances of getting the education and help they need to succeed.

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Best Hawaii Community Colleges FAQ

How are community colleges in Hawaii funded?

Community colleges in Hawaii are funded by the state. State funds help schools finance most of their operations and keep quality education within reach of students with financial aid needs through scholarships and grants. State funding is supplemented by tuition and fees charged to enrolled students.

Can international students attend Hawaii community colleges?

Yes, international students can attend community college in Hawaii. International undergraduate students who want to attend University of Hawaii Community Colleges must follow the standard application process. They must submit their TOEFL score, their high school or college transcripts, and external exam scores.

What are the best Hawaii Community College programs?

The best Hawaii Community College programs, some of the best programs are in nursing, IT, early childhood education, hospitality, tourism, culinary arts, and Hawaiian studies. Most of these programs are designed so that students will be eligible for employment upon graduation.

How much is community college in Hawaii?

Community college in Hawaii is approximately $3,225 per year for residents, and $8,391 for non-residents, according to NCES. Community colleges in Hawaii also offer plenty of financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and tuition waivers.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Astrid Longi

About the author: Astrid is a writer whose experience includes many interdisciplinary projects, such as a weekly podcast that discusses new topics, including tech, from different perspectives. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Certificate in Literary Translation from Cursiva and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial.

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