Updated November 29, 2022

Find the top value universities and colleges in Hawaii from this top-ranked list of best value schools in Hawaii. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Best Value Schools - Hawaii
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By Iris Stone

In this ranking, we examine top value universities and colleges in Hawaii for 2020.

Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations for honeymooners and adventurous families, and for good reason! Replete with beaches, volcanoes, water sports, fancy resorts, and laid back locals, Hawaii is a dichotomous haven of relaxation and excitement.

Admittedly, college students living on the archipelago may have trouble concentrating on their studies when there are so many tempting distractions outdoors. And yet, universities in Hawaii are surprisingly serious in their scholastic goals. From BYUH, the local campus of Brigham Young University, to top private schools like Pacific Rim and Hawaii Pacific, this state's schools have no trouble graduating its students in a timely manner and preparing them for long-lasting, satisfying careers.

Using indicators like selectivity and financial prospects for alumni (as well as net cost, of course), we determined the five best universities in Hawaii that will offer you equal amounts of sunshine, savings, and scholastic satisfaction. You may also want to check out our ranking of the most affordable online schools in Hawaii.


Read more about the methodology we used for this article here.

#1 Brigham Young University Laie, HI
#2 University of Hawaii Manoa Honolulu, HI
#3 Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI
#4 Pacific Rim Christian University Honolulu, HI
#5 University of Hawaii West Oahu Kapolei, HI

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  1. Brigham Young University

    Laie, HI



    You may know Brigham Young as the famous Mormon university in Utah, but did you know that BYU also has a 2,500-student campus in the small, beautiful community of Laie, Hawaii, historically known as a "place of refuge"? The Latter-Day Saints have been in Hawaii since the mid-19th century, long before the archipelago became the 50th state. As a faith-based school, BYU cares for each student's academic, spiritual, and professional development. At this top Hawaiian college, professors are known for their mentoring and time spent with students outside of classes. The Polynesian Cultural Center, a major visitor attraction, was founded by the LDS in 1955 and has since developed a strong relationship with BYU: over 700 students per year work there, gaining experience and financial support for their studies.

  2. University of Hawaii Manoa

    Honolulu, HI



    Founded in 1907, Manoa is the University of Hawaii's flagship campus. With 14,000 undergrads from 50 states and dozens of countries, 200 clubs, 98 majors, Division I athletics, and low tuition of about $12,000 per year, it's clearly one of the best universities in Hawaii, and you are sure to find your niche. Proud of its Hawaiian heritage and culture, UH Manoa established a new college in 2007 dedicated to the preservation and study of native Hawaiian knowledge, culture, and language, and native Hawaiian students benefit from special advising. Manoa's research is renowned in many fields; standouts include Oceanography, Marine Biology, Astronomy, Pacific Rim studies, Linguistics, and Genetics. The school also just introduced a new Creative Media degree - perfect if you want to study Animation or Game Design.

  3. Hawaii Pacific University

    Honolulu, HI



    One of the top colleges in Hawaii, HPU is proud to be Hawaii's leading private, nonsectarian university, as well as a model of cultural diversity and affordability. For half the tuition of a U.S. private college, you can live in one of the most beautiful places on earth! It's ideal for studying Marine Biology, Aquaculture, and related subjects; you'll even have access to the Oceanic Institute, a major research facility on the island. HPU is also known for its programs that serve the military, offering online courses and maintaining satellite campuses on seven Oahu military installations to help service members achieve their educational goals. Although HPU offers traditional liberal arts like English and History, its hard-to-find pre-professional programs in the health sciences (including Chiropractic, Veterinary Medicine, and Optometry) are especially popular.

  4. Pacific Rim Christian University

    Honolulu, HI



    This school's mission is to be "the innovative Christian university of excellence impacting Hawaii and the Pacific Rim." It's highly specialized among Hawaiian universities: all degrees focus on Biblical Studies, Theology, or Ministry. This makes it one of the best colleges in Hawaii at which to prepare for religious leadership. Academic and spiritual development are both important; there are mission trips throughout the year and all students choose a church in the local community where they can volunteer and develop their ministry skills. Pacific Rim is young and growing: in 1995 it began as a small school for future church leaders and is now a reputable university granting both undergrad and graduate degrees. It also boasts affiliations with institutes in Australia, Japan, and Myanmar and a reported 100% graduation rate.

  5. University of Hawaii West Oahu

    Kapolei, HI



    UH West Oahu has an exceptionally diverse, nontraditional student body (the average student age is 27). This widespread appeal is due in part to West Oahu's low net price and status as one of the most affordable Hawaii colleges. Originally founded to educate in the liberal arts (which are still alive and well), it has since expanded to career-oriented majors like Hospitality and Tourism. The school also promotes the values of Hawaii's indigenous population and cultivates native Hawaiian culture through courses like Hawaiian-Pacific Studies and Hawaiian language. Students can major in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management or Sustainable Community Food Systems - majors especially relevant to island nations - or prepare for health careers (including a pre-nursing pathway that feeds into a BSN at UH Hilo) through the Ike Mauli Ola Learning Community.

This concludes our ranking of best value Hawaii colleges and universities.

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About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career as a freelance writer and researcher. She now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Her work has included articles related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and careers.

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