Best Universities & Colleges in Hawaii for 2021

These are the 8 top schools, both online and traditional, located in the state of Hawaii. Scroll through the list below and get all the information you need about each institution.

Online Colleges in Hawaii

Compare all of the best distance education colleges located in Hawaii to pursue an online bachelors degree, associates, or online masters program degree. Including cost of tuition, degrees they offer, enrollment rates, faculty, famous alumni, and more.

  • Brigham Young University-Hawaii Seal

    Brigham Young University-Hawaii

    Laie, Hawaii

    Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii
    • 2,718 Total Students
    • 36% Acceptance Rate
    • 51% Enrollment Rate
    • 15 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 2,869 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    BYU-Hawaii, a private university today traces its roots to 1850 to the arrival of Latter-day Saint (LDS) missionaries from Illinois. After establishing the church, those ministries having served in the region for long, establishing a college in the area was envisioned in 1921 by David O. McKay. With the vision in mind, McKay set to work, becomes the president in 1951 to the institute he has planned to set up. In 1955 the institute began and in 1974 the college transitioned as a university with its succeeding years filled with development and progress.

    It is located in Laie, Hawaii and is managed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It aims to become an institute guided by spiritual values and with a secular approach to learning and education while focusing on overall development of a person.  Its educational affiliation with Polynesian Cultural Center is for the university’s students to work and be part of practical opportunities, allowing them interaction with visitors and learning about cultures as well as improve the English Language skills.

    The campus life at Brigham Young University-Hawaii brings an environment which is filled with every necessary activity that adds to their experiences. The student associations at campus involve students in extracurricular, social and fun activities; it provides HUB Game Center, open to faculty and students alike to enjoy games. New student orientation takes place before classes begin and even during the first week of session. One distinctive program at the university is iLead which provides online and on campus opportunities to those interested in developing effective leadership skills. Students are encouraged to connect with the communities; some of the organisations that students get to work with are Hawaii Temple, Health & Emergency Services, Turtle Bay and others. They are also encouraged to attend religious services through wards arranged by the church. Students are part of athletic teams which participates in NCAA Division II. The university’s colors are Crimson and Gold.

    Academic programs include Certificate, Diplomas, Associates and Bachelors with more than 45 majors. Its notable facilities are Joseph F. Smith Library and Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship.

    BYU-Hawaii School Facts

    • Years Estd.September 26, 1955
    • MascotSeasiders
    • Motto"Enter to learn, go forth to serve"
    • ColorsCrimson, Gold
    • LocationHawaii
    • Religious AffiliationLatter Day Saints (Mormon Church)

    Famous BYU-Hawaii Alumni

    • Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr.

      Politics & Law

      Delegate to Congress from American Samoa

    • Randall W. Boothe

      Entertainment & Arts

      Director of Light of the World and Faith in Every Footstep; former director of Disney's All American College Singers, Dancers and Show Band

    • Mike Wilton

      Professional Sports

      Works as volleyball head coach for the University of Hawaii, a three-time national coach of the yea; also a 2002 national champion

    • Young Bo Chang

      Business & Industry

      French Polynesia's representative on the Korea Trade Promotion Corporation


  • Chaminade University of Honolulu Seal

    Chaminade University of Honolulu

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    • 2,466 Total Students
    • 82% Acceptance Rate
    • 34% Enrollment Rate
    • 11 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 896 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    A private coeducational university, Chaminade was founded in 1955 by five Marianists. These Marianists wanted a Catholic higher education institute and so founded a two year college, as St. Louis Junior College. It was a men’s college but evolved into a coeducational, four year college in just two years. The college went on to further expand as it added evening classes and adult education to its curriculum. The evolution reached its pinnacle when the college added graduate degree in 1977.

    It was in the same year that the college also took on its present name, Chaminade University of Honolulu. These developments further strengthened the institute in its service towards its community by educating individuals for their careers but also to play a greater role of leadership, moral responsibility and scholarship in their communities.

    The student life at Chaminade is about students experiencing development both inside classrooms and outside of it. For this reason, students find every opportunity to explore themselves as well as their subject while their time at the university. New students are introduced around the university through the Orientation program where they not only get to know the people but also learn about policies and regulations. Further involvement is encouraged through student led groups and organizations. There are more than 30 clubs present on campus through which students interact with each other and collaborate over interests. Students also enjoy plenty of activities such as speaker series and events aimed at creating cultural awareness. Spiritual connection is also ensured through prayer, retreat sessions with peers, outreach to underprivileged communities and community service by becoming a volunteer for service. Students also pursue athletics; there are teams participating at NCAA Division II. The university has Blue, White and Silver as its official colors.

    The university offers a variety of academic programs, more than more than 25 programs at undergraduate and graduate levels in the field of science, arts, mathematics, humanities, education, communication and others. The prominent facilities at Chaminade are Sullivan Family Library, Vi and Paul Loo Student Center, Weigand Observatory, Carlson Fitness Center and a few others.

    Chaminade School Facts

    • Years Estd.1955
    • NicknameSilverswords
    • MottoVita En Verbo (Latin)
    • Motto Eng.Life in [the] Word
    • ColorsBlue, White, Silver
    • LocationHawaii
    • AthleticsNCAA Division II – PacWest
    • Religious AffiliationRoman Catholic

  • Hawaii Pacific University Seal

    Hawaii Pacific University

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii
    • 4,781 Total Students
    • 91% Acceptance Rate
    • 16% Enrollment Rate
    • 13 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 3,449 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    Hawaii Pacific University is the largest private university in the Central Pacific. It is a coeducational nonsectarian liberal arts institute. The college was established in 1965 by Eureka Forbes, Paul C.T. Loo, Elizabeth W. Kellerman, and The Reverend Edmond Walker who applied for a charter for non-profit corporation under the name of Hawaii Pacific College. In 1966 the college merged with Honolulu Christian College with a new charter granted from the state of Hawaii. Seven years later, the college got full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1986 the college launched its first graduate program granting master’s degree. It got the university status in 1990 gaining its current name. Two years later, Hawaiʻi Loa College merged into the university.

    The university states its mission is to fulfill the needs of the community and prepare the students for their practical life.

    The university main campus is located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The university also operates additional campus in Kaneohe which was previously the campus of Hawaiʻi Loa College before merging. Moreover, it also operates the satellite oceanic institute which offers access to marine and oceanic research. On the other hand, the university has several military based campuses on Oʻahu’s US military bases. The official colors of the university are blue and gray while its mascot is called Sharky the Shark. Its athletic teams participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II competing in the Pacific West Conference.

    The university is divided into five distinct colleges offering 56 undergraduate programs, 36 graduate programs and 9 associate degree programs. There are also additional online programs.  It received reaffirmation of accreditation in 2016. The university is ranked among top universities in the western region U.S. News and World Report and Princeton Review.

    HPU School Facts

    • Years Estd.1965
    • NicknameSharks
    • MascotSharky the Shark
    • MottoHolomua Me Ka Oiaio (Hawaiian)
    • Motto Eng.Forward With Truth
    • ColorsBlue and gray
    • LocationHawaii
    • AthleticsNCAA Division II – PacWest
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

    Famous HPU Alumni

    • Benny Agbayani

      Professional Sports

      formal professional baseball player

    • Christopher Loeak

      Politics & Law

      President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

    • James D. McCaffrey

      Science & Medicine

      software researcher

    • Jeff Hubbard

      Professional Sports

      professional bodyboarder

    • Jennifer Fairbank

      Entertainment & Arts

      Miss Hawaii USA 2004


  • University of Hawaii at Hilo Seal

    University of Hawaii at Hilo

    Hilo, Hawaii

    University of Hawaii at Hilo in Hilo, Hawaii
    • 3,829 Total Students
    • 71% Acceptance Rate
    • 35% Enrollment Rate
    • 13 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 1,541 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    UH Hilo is a public institute and is one of the member institutes of the University of Hawaiʻi system. The university traces its earliest findings to the Hawaiʻi Vocational College which was founded in the year 1941. It improved its programs and curriculum but it wasn’t until 1970 that it received approval by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

    It is based in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The University of Hawaii at Hilo is committed to bringing innovation and discovery more and more in the light of global development and hence offers experiential learning, inclusivity and scholarship.

    For students to be well experience d and well developed the campus life offers every resources and activity. Student involvement takes place through plenty of registered student run organisations and clubs which are social friendly and help students pursue their interests as well as conduct activities. There is the UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) which represents the student population and provides a practical exposure to leadership and service. There are also the leadership development programs which further encourage students for leadership activities through conferences, challenges and recognition awards. For serving the larger off campus community, the students take part in activities such as Hunger Banquet, Beach Clean-Up, Make a Difference Day and many others. The campus also has its Activities Council which plans and executes cultural, social, professional, entertainment and any other kind of activities on campus; some traditional ones are Hoʻolauleʻa, Start of Summer and Free Food! There is also a Performing Arts Center which regularly holds events, concerts, plays, dances etc, all year round as a way to encourage diversity and culture. The campus has its athletic teams, ‘Vulcans’, competing at NCCA Division II, with the official campus colors, Red and Black.

    Academic programs at the university are 38 Undergraduate, 8 Graduate and 4 Doctorates programs. Its prominent facilities/departments are Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, Edwin H. Mookini Library, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi Edith Kanakaʻole Hall, Wentworth Hall and more.

    UH Hilo School Facts

    • Years Estd.1941 (as Hawai_i College)1947 (as UH Hilo)1970 (as a four-year institution)
    • NicknameVulcans
    • MottoPulelo ha_aheo ke ahi a n_ lehua a_o Hilo (Hawaiian)
    • Motto Eng.The flame of Hilo's lehua blossoms leaps triumphantly with pride
    • ColorsRed and Black
    • LocationHawaii
    • AthleticsNCAA Division II – PacWest
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

  • University of Hawaii Seal

    University of Hawaii

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii
    • 18,865 Total Students
    • 81% Acceptance Rate
    • 30% Enrollment Rate
    • 13 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 7,690 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    UH Mānoa is a public research university that was founded in 1907 under the Morrill Act. It was established as the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. With quick addition of programs to the curriculum, by 1912 it turned into College of Hawaiʻi. Following the development, in 1920 it further transformed and became a university, eventually adding schools and colleges to it.

    The university is a land, space and sea grant institute and is the flagship campus of the University of Hawaiʻi system. It is based in Honolulu County in Hawaiʻi. Accepting diversity among its students it is committed to bringing global developments through its programs, multicultural environment and focus on research activities.

    University of Hawai’i at Mānoa offers a unique place to its students for their growth and development in various academic and non academic areas. The campus has more than 250 registered student organisations and clubs which provide the opportunity for students to exercise their interest with other students from various fields. Besides leading these organisations and practicing skills, there are also leadership development programs. The campus also holds many events throughout the year offering entertainment to its students as well. There are concerts, theatre plays, movies, fairs and many others. Arts and creativity is encouraged through many of the visual arts performances but also through galleries and exhibits. A common student place is the ‘Campus Center’ which provides apace for holding events but also for meetings, conferences, supporting extracurricular activities or for hanging out with friends to study or relax. Promoting sustainability among students and the community, the university offers courses and also has its sustainability council. The campus also has its athletic teams called the ‘Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine’. These compete at NCAA Division I; the campus colors are Green and White.

    Academic programs at UH Mānoa include 110+ Bachelors, 80+ Masters and 60+ Doctoral degree programs, and 75+ minors and certificates. Its prominent facilities are Queen Liliʻuokalani Center, Jefferson Hall, John A Burns School of Medicine, Shidler College of Business, Newman Center and others.

    UH Mānoa School Facts

    • Years Estd.1907
    • Motto"Ma luna a_e o n_ l_hui a pau ke ola ke kanaka" (Hawaiian)
    • Motto Eng."Above all nations is humanity"
    • ColorsGold and black
    • LocationHawaii
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

    Famous UH Mānoa Alumni

    • Bob Ballard

      Science & Medicine

      Oceanographer

    • Newton Ennis Morton

      Science & Medicine

      Founder of genetic epidemiology

    • Brett Wigdortz OBE

      Business & Industry

      Founder & CEO Teach First

    • Jason Jones

      Social Advocacy & Service

      Activist and filmmaker

    • Jason Tom

      Entertainment & Arts

      Beatboxer, musician, motivational speaker and an entrepreneur

    • Davone Bess

      Professional Sports

      Former pro football player

    • Rich Miano

      Professional Sports

      Former pro football player and current University of Hawaii coach

    • Richard D. Parsons

      Business & Industry

      CEO and Chairman of Time Warner, Inc.

    • Joong-Kyung Choi

      Politics & Law

      Former Minister of Knowledge Economy, Republic of Korea

    • John Mizuno

      Politics & Law

      Vice Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives


  • Maui College Seal

    Maui College

    Kahului, Hawaii

    • 3,593 Total Students
    • 16 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • Yes Online Programs

    Formally called the University of Hawai’i Maui College, it is a public higher education institute. The present day college was founded in year 1931 as Maui Vocational School. This vocational school turned into Maui Technical School, authorized by the Department of Public Instruction in 1958. It became part of the University of Hawai’i in year 1961.

    The school changed into community college and in 2010, it went through another name change, Maui College by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission Board. The college is based in Kahului, Hawaiʻi.

    At the campus of UHMC, students are provided with an environment that opens up possibilities for professional growth, personal and character formation, and activities for social development. The students find 15 student led clubs and organisations; participating in these, students get the chance to develop skills outside of classrooms and connect with students outside of their disciplines. There is also the Student Government which is the student representation on campus working for a better campus life. There is also the Student Activities Council, which concentrates on arranging events which are social, cultural and recreational in nature. Students also enjoy gathering at the ‘Student Lounge’ where they find vending machines, microwaves, televisions and other stuff for entertainment and for having a good time. There is also space for physical fitness by providing a workout experience and open gym for the students. The arts is also celebrated on campus with five sculptures erected throughout the campus including those of metal, coral, bronze, steel and silicon; these include Alakahi, Maui, Na Moku ʻEkolu, Wind and Sea and Dolphin.

    As for the academic programs at the UHMC, these consist of undergraduate programs including 21 Associate degree programs and three Bachelors degree programs. The prominent facilities at the campus are Noiʻi, ʻIke Leʻa, Pāʻina, Pilina, Kaʻaʻike, Laulima and others.

    UHMC School Facts

    • LocationHawaii
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable

  • University of Hawaii at West Oahu Seal

    University of Hawaii at West Oahu

    Kapolei, Hawaii

    University of Hawaii at West Oahu in Kapolei, Hawaii
    • 2,692 Total Students
    • 70% Acceptance Rate
    • 40% Enrollment Rate
    • 19 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 898 Total Applicants
    • Yes Online Programs

    UHWO is a public university and one of the member institutes of the University of Hawaiʻi system. The university initially began in the year 1976. As it made progress, it came to be accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in the year 1981 but only offered courses for the last two years. It was in the year 2007 that it came to be a four year institute.

    University of Hawaii at West Oahu is located in Kapolei in Hawaii where it relocated in the year 2012. With its programs and courses, the university is focused on developing students professionally by equipping them with knowledge, skills and competencies that result in long term success.

    The campus life at UHWO is all about student enrichment and development through various extracurricular activities. There are approximately 30 student run organisations which serve as the main activity centers for the students. Besides getting a chance to run one of these and improving leadership skills, the students also find them as friendly learning platforms as well as healthy social networking tools. Students also get to be part of the student government on campus called the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii West Oahu (ASUHWO) which is the student representation and along with Campus Center Board (CCB) regulates student life, works for improvement and helps sustain cultural, social, recreational as well as entertainment needs of the students. For student support and success, many other services present on the campus are: counselling for better educational and non educational development as well as for healthy mental health of the students. There is also the support center which provides extra academic assistance to the students and help with writing and maths through extra tutoring, workshops and similar activities. For physical fitness, the campus offers intramural sports and also serves as entertainment and time off studies through participation in a healthy activity.

    The academic programs at the university are six Bachelor degrees with 33 options and seven certificate programs. The official campus colors are Red and Black.

    UHWO School Facts

    • Years Estd.1976
    • ColorsRed and Black
    • LocationHawaii
    • Religious AffiliationNot applicable


All Top Colleges in Hawaii

  • Pacific Rim Christian University Seal

    Pacific Rim Christian University

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    • 117 Total Students
    • 50% Acceptance Rate
    • 56% Enrollment Rate
    • 13 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
    • 90 Total Applicants
    • No Online Programs

    Pacific Rim Christian University (PacRim) is a private Christian higher education institute located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The college was established in 1995 by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro under the name of the School of Church Planters after establishing the New Hope Christian Fellowship. He aimed at preparing church leaders. The name of the school was changed in 1998 to Pacific Rim Bible Institute after its reorganization. The institute grow with the years into a college and then into a university by the addition of graduate programs. In 2011, the college merged with New Hope Christian College in Eugene at the Hawaii campus. The merge was ended in 2015 making Pacific Rim an independent institute with its own board. It then achieved accreditation from Association for Biblical Higher Education.

    The university states that its mission is to prepare students to become Christian leaders by developing their theology, ministry character, and skills.

    PacRim offers 3 associate, 4 bachelor and 2 master’s degree programs.

    PacRim School Facts

    • LocationHawaii
    • Religious AffiliationOther Protestant

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