Most Affordable Colleges in Hawaii in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

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Hawaii is a beautiful location.  Whether you already live there and are looking for a great school, or hope to enjoy a glorious four years of college exploring mountains, volcanoes, and sandy beaches, there are eight four-year colleges and universities to choose from.

Types of Colleges and Universities in Hawaii

Both public and private colleges and universities are available in Hawaii.  The University of Hawaii operates four campuses that offer four year degrees as well as several community colleges.  There are Christian schools, large schools, small schools, and many schools that offer unique areas of study.  These include sustainable community food systems, Hawaiian studies, volcanology, and many more.

Why Choose to Attend College or University in Hawaii?

If you love warm, tropical weather, Hawaii may be the place for you.  Many students that attend college in Hawaii describe their campuses as friendly and laid back.  Each campus is beautiful and lush with amazing plant life.  Even the largest university in Hawaii is small compared to other institutions in the country and all offer small class sizes.  Whenever there is a small break in studying, there is so much to do and explore in Hawaii.  Go ocean diving, surfing, cliff jumping, ziplining, hiking, sightseeing, and hang out at the beach.  College is all about making memories and there are some pretty amazing memories to be made in Hawaii.

What are the Cheapest Colleges in Hawaii?

We’ve put together a list of all of the four-year colleges and universities available in Hawaii.  We ranked them in order from cheapest to most expensive based on in-state tuition or tuition based on religious affiliation.  Keep in mind that there are several tiers for tuition, which we listed, with many institutions offering in-state tuition, as well as special rates for religious affiliation or living in the Pacific Island District.  Take a look at the cheapest colleges in Hawaii below.

The 8 Cheapest Colleges in Hawaii


University of Hawaii – Maui College

  • Kahului, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 26%

A public university, the University of Hawaii – Maui College is a small institution that offers personalized learning. There are three bachelor of applied sciences degrees available in sustainable science management, engineering technology, and applied business and information technology. There are also a variety of associates degrees and certificate programs available. The acceptance rate is 100%, so it’s easy to get in and the student to faculty ratio is 14:1

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $5,952
Out of State Tuition: $8,568
Tuition for Students from Pacific Island Districts: $7,260
Enrollment: 2,936
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University of Hawaii – West Oahu

  • Kapolei, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 50%

Founded in 1976, the University of Hawaii – West Oahu moved to its current campus in 2012. New facilities continue to be constructed as enrollment grows. Students enjoy small class sizes, with an average of 20 students per class as well as enrolling in unique programs. These include sustainable community food systems, hospitality and tourism, health sciences, cybersecurity, and creative media. It is fairly easy to get in here and students describe the school as friendly, laid back, and approachable.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $7,344
Out of State Tuition: $20,304
Tuition for Students from Pacific Island Districts: $11,016
Enrollment: 3,168
Visit School Website

University of Hawaii at Hilo

  • Hilo, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 37%

The University of Hawaii at Hilo has an average class size of 19. The school has 12 teams that participate in NCAA Division II athletics. This school offers the unique opportunity to earn a Ph.D in an Indigenous Language and culture revitalization. There is also a semester at sea program and UH Hilo offers the only college of Pharmacy in the Pacific region. The campus is ethnically diverse and is home to more than 50 clubs and organizations. Choose from more than 50 different degrees ranging from astronomy to Hawaiian studies to computer science.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $7,344
Out of State Tuition: $20,304
Tuition for Students from Pacific Island Districts: $8,964
Enrollment: 3,165
Visit School Website

Brigham Young University

  • Laie, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 55%

Operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University – Hawaii is a private undergraduate university. The school is located 35 miles north of Honolulu on the island of Oahu and the campus sits between mountains and shoreline. Admission is competitive, with less than half of students who apply getting in. BYU-Hawaii offers 50 major programs, 65 minor programs, and 15 certificate programs. The student to faculty ratio is 17:1 and students enjoy small class sizes.

School Overview

Tuition for Latter-day Saint church member: $7,627
Tuition for non-church members: $15,253
Enrollment: 3,200
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University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

The oldest of the University of Hawaii Campuses, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is also the largest. There are hundreds of degrees available, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The school participates in NCAA Division I athletics. Unique programs of study include volcanology, evolutionary biology, Pacific Island studies, and Pacific and Asian regional public health. UH Manoa is a top tier research university and is located in the gorgeous Manoa Valley, which is just outside of downtown Honolulu.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $11,304
Out of State Tuition: $33,336
Tuition for Students from Pacific Island Districts: $16,956
Enrollment: 18,025
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Pacific Rim Christian University

  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 88%

Pacific Rim Christian University is a private Christian university that was established in 1998. Associates, bachelors, and master’s degrees are available. All programs are for those who want to pursue studies in faith and ministry. The student population is small and enjoys coming together for student-led chapel. Limited student housing is available and about half of the students that apply to the school are admitted.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $13,200
Out of State Tuition: $13,200
Enrollment: 145
Visit School Website

Hawaii Pacific University

  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 24%

Choose from one of five distinct colleges at Hawaii Pacific University. These include the College of Business, College of Health and Society, College of Liberal Arts, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, and College of Professional Studies. There are a variety of student organizations, clubs, and recreational activities available and the student to faculty ratio is 17:1. The acceptance rate is 75% and is the largest private university located in the central Pacific.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $18,800
Out of State Tuition: $18,800
Enrollment: 4,170
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Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Graduation Rate: 59%

Chaminade University is the only Catholic University in Hawaii. This private school offers more than 30 student clubs and organizations and has a student body that represents 14 countries and 40 states. The median class size is 18 and the student to teacher ratio is 11:1. Students can choose from more than 50 majors and minors across five schools and divisions. The top five majors include nursing, criminology and criminal justice, forensic sciences, biology, and business administration.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $26,914
Out of State Tuition: $26,914
Enrollment: 1,099
Visit School Website

Still not sure which college or university in Hawaii is right for you?  We can help you find the best fit based on the program you choose.

Our Ranking Methodology

We found tuition information from each school’s website.  We used in-state (or applicable church member) tuition for ranking purposes.  When tuition was listed by credit, we multiplied this number by 12 credits to get the per semester cost and then multiplied that figure by 2 to get the yearly cost.

We sorted the schools by tuition, with the cheapest school listed first.  Where there was a tie, the school shared the ranking.

Problem With Your Ranking?

If you are an employee with one of our listed schools and notice an error in our information, please contact us to let us know so that we may correct the error.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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