Hawaii is a great place for education because several of its universities, colleges, and community institutions rank among top schools in America. However, you need to be mindful to find the cheapest colleges in Hawaii because the state is notoriously expensive.
Hawaii houses 25 institutions for associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like engineering, nursing, liberal arts, business, and more. In this article, we will outline the most affordable colleges in Hawaii. Additionally, we will describe financial aid, the admission requirements of these colleges, and the top jobs you can get after graduation.
How Much Does College Cost in Hawaii?
The cost of college in Hawaii ranges from $5,000 to $25,000. This range represents the cost for in-state, out-of-state, and international students. It also includes books, supplies, and living expenses. As the College Scorecard of the US Department of Education shows, the average annual cost of a university in Hawaii is over $17,000.
Most Affordable Colleges in Hawaii: The Basics
|School||Location||Undergraduate Tuition||Graduate Tuition|
|University of Hawai’i Maui College||Kahului||$131/credit (in-state); $345/credit (out-of-state)||N/A|
|Brigham Young University-Hawaii||Laie||$260/credit (Latter-day Saint); $521/credit (non-Latter-day Saint)||N/A|
|University of Hawai’i at Hilo||Hilo||$306/credit (in-state); $846/credit (out-of-state)||$489/credit (in-state); $1,107/credit (out-of-state)|
|University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu||Kapolei||$306/credit (in-state); $846/credit (out-of-state)||N/A|
|University of Phoenix-Hawaii||Honolulu||$9,288/year||$15,600/year|
|University of Hawai’i at Mānoa||Mānoa||$11,304/year (in-state); $33,336/year (out-of-state)
||$10,400/year (in-state), $22,432/year (out-of-state)|
|Chaminade University of Honolulu||Honolulu||$28,554/year||$840/credit|
|Hawai’i Pacific University||Honolulu||$29,520/year||$20,250/year|
Cheapest Universities in Hawaii: A Closer Look
In the section below, we’ll discuss the schools from the table above, in detail. We’ll cover accreditation, acceptance and graduation rates, tuition costs, and expenses you’ll need to consider, such as books and supplies and room and board. Lastly, we’ll outline the top programs offered at each institution.
Cheapest Online Colleges in Hawaii
|School||Online Tuition||Programs Available Online|
|Leeward Community College||$393/course||Associate|
|University of Hawaii at Hilo||$918/course||Bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral|
|University of Hawaii-West Oahu||$918/course||Certificate, bachelor’s|
|University of Hawaii at Mānoa||$1,413/course||Bachelor’s, graduate certificate|
|Chaminade University of Honolulu||$585/credit||Bachelor’s|
Cheapest Colleges in Hawaii by In-State Tuition
- University of Hawaii Maui College | $131/credit
- Brigham Young University-Hawaii | $260/credit
- University of Hawaii at Hilo | $306/credit
- University of Hawaii-West Oahu | $306/credit
- University of Phoenix-Hawaii | $9,288/year
Cheapest Colleges in Hawaii by Out-of-State Tuition
- University of Hawaii Maui College| $345/credit
- Brigham Young University-Hawaii | $521/credit
- University of Hawaii at Hilo | $846/credit
- University of Hawaii-West Oahu | $846/credit
- University of Phoenix-Hawaii | $9,288/year
Why Is College So Expensive?
College in the US is so expensive for various reasons. Some of the factors contributing to high college expenses include tuition fees, less state funding, and the growing demand for college. We’ll break down some of the biggest factors below.
Increasing Tuition Fees
According to College Board, tuition rates for private schools and colleges have increased 140 percent since 1980. The fees for public and state-owned colleges have increased by almost 213 percent. It is a staggering increase and is responsible for high education costs.
Lower Public and State Funding
While the tuition rates for public and private colleges and universities have increased rapidly, financial aid has decreased considerably. This sharp contrast of increases and decreases in tuition fees and financial aid has made colleges even more expensive.
Housing and Food
Housing and food costs have risen significantly in the past decade. It is partly because of the growing inflation and demand for housing. The highest increases in rent have happened in the last couple of years. Naturally, it has added to the overall expense of your college fees. On top of that, the cost of food also increased.
Best Universities by State
How to Save Money in College
After seeing why getting a college education is so expensive, you might be frustrated or unsure of how to pay for school. In this section, we will list the top five ways to save money while studying in college so you can lower your expenses. You can look for different financial aid, find affordable housing or lodging systems, and use your student ID card to get discounts on public transportation, meals, and other activities.
- Look for financial aid. Most colleges and universities offer financial aid for their students. Financial aid options include federal or state scholarships, alumni awards, and merit-based awards. Financial aid can partially or fully cover your educational expenses.
- Compare and check universities. You can browse different comparison sites for undergraduate, graduate, and associate degrees so you find suitable institutions. These educational comparison sites provide you with detailed information on tuition fees, supply costs, and on-campus housing.
- Check student discounts. One of the best things about student life is the number of discounts you can get. Whether you shop at a local supermarket or go to a restaurant for a meal, you might get a discount by showing your student ID card. Always ask about student discounts, whether they’re advertised or not.
- Get used to buying used items. Maybe you need a textbook or you’re looking for affordable clothes. You can get these items used at a lower cost. Buying items used will lower your expenses significantly.
- Follow your budget. Lastly, you must prepare a budget at the beginning of college and follow it strictly. Your list may include tuition, food, housing, books, travel, and emergency expenses. Once you prepare a budget, stick to it.
How to Apply for Financial Aid in Hawaii
- Fill out the FAFSA form and creat a student account on the website.
- Wait for an email confirming the aid you qualify for.
- Log in to your student portal and formally accept your awarded aid.
Scholarships for Students in Hawaii
|OHA Native Hawaiian Scholarships||Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)||$5,00,000 for multiple awardees|| Hawaiian ancestry
School graduation from Hawaii
2.8 GPA or higher
Willing to study in STEM programs
|Fukunaga Scholarship||Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation||$20,000||Must be a resident of Hawaii
Willing to pursue a career in business
Cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher
|Gromet Foundation Scholarships||Gromet Foundation||$20,000||US citizen or permanent resident in Hawaii
Annual family income needs to be less than 150% compared to the Hawaiian poverty line
Full-time studentship in four-year program
|Hawai’i Community Foundation Scholarships||Hawai’i Community Foundation||$2,500|| A citizen of Hawaii with a 2.70 GPA or hgher
Two or four years of degree program enrollment
Full-time student status
|Hawaii Education Association (HEA) Student Teacher Scholarship||Hawaii Education Association (HEA)||$2,000||Be a full-time post-baccalaureate or undergraduate student|
|R.W. “Bob” Holden Scholarship||Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation||$2,000||A citizen of Hawaii
Full-time enrolment in college or university
|Korean University Club Scholarship||Korean University Club||Varies||Hawaiian citizenship with Korean ancestry
Study at a non-profit college or university
Enrollment in a two- or four-year degree program
2.7 GPA or higher
|Alma White – Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship||Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF)||$1,000 or higher||Study at non-profit colleges
Bachelor’s or master’s degree with a focus on teaching
2.7 GPA or higher
|Maui County Farm Bureau Scholarship||Pauahi Foundation||$2,500||Interested in agriculture-related subjects
Minimum 2.0 GPA
Must work two weeks with Maui County Farm
|NIADA Region IV Scholarship||National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA)||$3,500||A high-school graduate
Residence in IV regions
Interest in automobiles
How to Choose a Cheap College in Hawaii
Are you looking for the cheapest universities in Hawaii? Then you need to be selective. Also, you must consider a few factors before choosing an affordable Hawaiian college or university for your degree. You should look at the scholarship opportunities, on-campus lodging, and course format options, for starters.
First, look at financial aid and scholarship options for the schools you want to attend. Many colleges and universities offer generous scholarships and tuition rates based on their students’ merits. Also, many institutions have alumni scholarships, particularly for their students.
You must check the costs if you plan to live on the university’s campus. It may include dorm or lodging costs, books, supplies, and more. The cost of living in college dorms is often higher than in an area near the school. You must look at the expense carefully before making your decision.
Online or On-Campus Course Format
Online degree programs are cheaper than on-campus programs. Many universities in Hawaii offer online degrees for undergraduate and graduate students. If you find the right online program for you, it will be helpful for finishing your education affordably. Also, hybrid programs will reduce the cost.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Best Community Colleges by State
Highest-Paying Jobs for College Graduates in Hawaii
|Job Title||Average Salary in Hawaii||Minimum Education|
|Dermatologists||$366,000||Professional or doctoral degree|
|Orthopedic Surgeons||$356,960||Professional or doctoral degree|
|Dentists||$177,820||Professional or doctoral degree|
|Education Administrators, Postsecondary||$130,060||Master’s degree|
|Nurse Practitioners||$127,490||Master’s degree|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$127,180||Bachelor’s degree|
|Financial Manager||$123,300||Bachelor’s degree|
|Sales Manager||$122,720||Bachelor’s degree|
|Information Security Analysts||$119,540||Bachelor’s degree|
|Lodging Managers||$117,420||High school diploma|
Best Jobs for College Grads in Hawaii: Explained
Accredited Online Colleges by State
Is a Cheap College in Hawaii Worth It?
Yes, a cheap college in Hawaii is worth it because it offers excellent results. Many public colleges and universities in Hawaii offer associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs at affordable rates. Also, they have good faculty, labs, and classroom facilities. All these make the cheapest colleges in Hawaii worth studying at.
Cheapest Colleges in Hawaii FAQ
No, there aren’t free universities in Hawaii. However, Hawai’i Promise does offer free in-state tuition for eligible students through the scholarship program.
There are 10 public colleges and universities for higher education in Hawaii. The University of Hawaii system directly oversees these schools.
No, it’s not hard getting into a college in Hawaii. Usually, many of these colleges have an 80 percent or higher acceptance rate. If you have a GPA above 3.0 and proper documentation, you will likely get into most Hawaiian colleges.
Yes, you can get into one of the ten colleges in the University of Hawaii system with a 3.0 GPA. Usually, these colleges allow students to apply with a 2.7 GPA.
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.