Best Online Colleges in Hawai’i for 2020

Hawaii is known for hot temperatures and gorgeous island views, but with the advantages of island living comes disadvantages as well. For instance, since there are multiple islands, Hawaii students can be challenges when it comes to commuting to college. Although the weather is decent most of the time, Hawaii is known to get a few major storms each year with high winds. Plus, the state receives a lot of rain. This can put a damper of commuting back and forth some days. Additionally, the choices of universities a student has are limited in this state since the state only has 19 schools. This is including major universities, community colleges, and specialty institutions. Therefore, a student may have quite a long trip going from their home to their school if they don’t want to relocate. Online degree programs solve all of those problems.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Colleges in Hawaii

To make the VC ranking of the best online colleges in Hawaii, schools must keep in line with the Value Colleges commitment to affordability, reputation and proven success. Institutions are listed in descending order of available online program options (as of publication). All schools are regionally or nationally accredited, located in Hawai’i, and they each boast solid ROIs.

1. University of Hawaii Online

The University of Hawaii offers a diverse catalog of online degree programs with over 30 majors for students to choose from. As one of the best online colleges in Hawaii, the university provides liberal arts certifications, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and master degrees through a virtual campus. In addition to online courses, the school has course delivery through ITV—an interactive television system. Popular major options include Master of Education, Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Social Work, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Tuition costs are very affordable for the online programs, making the University of Hawaii a top pick for online colleges in Hawaii.

The University of Hawaii is a public college located in a rural area of Hawaii. The university has 10 campuses spread out in different regions around the island. All schools are fully accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The Manoa location has the highest number of enrolled students while the Honolulu campus serves mostly commuting students in the surrounding suburban areas. The University of Hawaii is well-known for being a trailblazer in distance education with a mission to keep tuition costs down through virtual learning opportunities.

Number of Online Programs: 30

2. Chaminade University of Honolulu

Chiaminade University of Honolulu proudly offers a growing number of academic majors through their online campus. Currently, they have a total of 20 undergraduate programs with choices such as criminal justice, criminology, education, English, humanities, environmental studies, psychology, and business administration. Many of the programs are unique when compared to other online colleges in Hawaii due to the availability of both an associate or bachelor degree track. Chaminade University of Honolulu consistently aims to keep education costs low for students attending distance learning classes.

Chiaminade University of Honolulu is a small, private college with an enrollment of just over 1,000 undergraduate students. The college is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and integrates a religious component into its curriculum. Collaborative learning is at the foundation of the college’s core mission statement and volunteering is encouraged of all students.

Number of Online Programs: 20

3. Hawai’i Pacific University

Although one of the smaller online colleges in Hawaii, the Hawai’i Pacific University still has plenty to offer in the field of distance learning. Bachelor degree options include psychology, human resource development, criminal justice, public administration, and business administration. Graduate-level online degrees include business administration, public health, and public administration. Hawai’i Pacific University’s online degree options promise high value in the job market.

The private Hawai’i Pacific University has an urban campus centrally located in the state’s capitol. The college is best known for having a diverse campus with enrolled students coming from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. The highest ranking academic programs from the college include biology, computer science, business administration, and psychology.

Number of Online Programs: 5

What is the Value of Online Colleges in Hawaii?

Today more than ever before, colleges across the nation are supplementing their traditional campuses with fully and partially online degree programs available to students around the globe. In fact, attending school online is considered a respected and accredited avenue for obtaining a college degree. Since online programs embrace flexibility of learning and student-led coursework, people who are unable or uninterested in earning a degree on a campus, such as homeschooled students or working adults, are now able to get the same quality education online. Additionally, online study is a way to fast track a degree without sacrificing other responsibilities.

Attending a Hawaii online school alleviates the commuting challenge. Students also have less worry about their attendance in a Hawaii online school. Students only have to worry about missing days due to non-illness-related causes at a Hawaii online college when they don’t have internet. Since the number of traditional schools is small, students have more options when they opt for online colleges in Hawaii. Choosing a Hawaii online college can mean more options for majors for a student. It’s also easier to find online colleges in Hawaii with flexibility in terms of scheduling. This is ideal for Hawaii residents who have previous obligations and are non-traditional students. 

Is Accreditation Important for Online College in Hawaii?

Like going to college anywhere, accreditation is important. A school that has accreditation receives approval from one of the 19 major educational standard agencies. The agencies look at the school as a whole and may also accredit a particular program. The accrediting process takes into consideration the quality of education students receive as well as how challenging the curriculum is and how much it prepares students for their particular field, among other educational standards. Unfortunately, only a few educational institutions are accredited online colleges in Hawaii. Students must attend one of the accredited online colleges in Hawaii if they need financial aid. All government programs and some state aid programs require this when approving funds to a student. Scholarship programs may require a student to attend an accredited school. 

In terms of education, a pupil should aim for an accredited school, so they know they’re receiving education in their particular field that’s meaningful and will help them in their future career. Additionally, once a student graduates, prospective employers look at where a student attended school as part of their process for screening employees. If a potential employee has an education from a school that lacks accreditation, the employer may pass on that particular applicant.  

Students who are attending school under an employer-reimbursement agreement may find that their employer won’t cover the cost of an education from an unaccredited school. The employer wants to make sure a student receives a high-quality education if they plan to pay this kind of expense for their employee. The employer wants an employee who will have a strong education where he or she can advance in the company. 

Someone who attends a non-accredited school and wants to transfer credits to another school may find that their credits won’t transfer. Therefore, the student has to start out without any credits when attending another school. Therefore, they’ll have to take all the courses they took at the non-accredited school again. In addition to the time a student wastes when doing this, the pupil has to pay for the cost of both degrees if he or she doesn’t receive grants or scholarships. 

Credits from an unaccredited school won’t transfer to another institution. People who earn a bachelor’s at an uncredited school and try to transfer to another school will need to complete all those credits over again. Accreditation isn’t the only factor that determines whether your credits transfer, so always check with prospective schools to ensure you can use your credits before transferring. 

Are There Online Community Colleges in Hawaii?

Yes, there are online colleges in the state, and students may choose to take single Hawaii community college online courses. Sometimes, Hawaii community colleges have articulation agreements with other schools. This means that a student may transfer from one of the schools who are under the articulation agreement to another without a problem. All the credits are transferred as well as all the student’s financial aid. Additionally, when schools have this type of agreement students are guaranteed a spot, so they don’t have to worry about a nerve-wracking period where they wonder if they’re going to make it in or not.  

Some students would prefer to complete Hawaii community college online courses because they’re less expensive than major universities. One example of a school that offers online courses is Hawaii Community College. It offers courses in accounting, writing, web design, and management.

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