Hawaii’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Hawaii offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Hawaii’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Hawaiʻi

The majority of the universities and colleges in The Aloha State are public institutions, including Hawaiʻi’s largest school, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The nearly 15,000 students who attend this school pay tuition fees around $12,000. However, Hawaiʻi does have a few private schools, two of which have religious affiliations. While tuition at these private schools varies, from $6,000 at Brigham Young University Hawaiʻi to $26,000 at Hawaiʻi Pacific University, each serves between 2,000–3,000 students.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Students who attend higher education institutes in Hawaiʻi have the option to major in fields like biology, education, history, criminal justice, physics, and many others. However, students who graduate with degrees in the health care field have an extra advantage. Hawaiʻi offers a student loan forgiveness program for health care workers who work at designated, high-need locations within the state for at least two years. So, even though Hawaiʻi comes in just above the national average for tuition costs, if you are considering a career in health care, this may be the place for you.

Some dream of vacationing in paradise — but why not take it a step further and live there? Students attending school in Hawaiʻi won’t have to say aloha, or goodbye, to the beautiful white sand beaches, perfect waves, and tropical drinks. Students can enroll in one of Hawaiʻi’s 15 higher education institutes and live their best life in these picturesque island communities.

For more information on obtaining your degree in Hawaiʻi, explore some of the top programs and schools this state has to offer.


What are Hawaiʻi’s Colleges & Universities?

Hawaiʻi’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

Hawaii's Best Colleges and Universities 2021 badge
Download Badge

How do we determine Hawaii's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified a total of 5 liberal arts colleges and universities in Hawaii, 3 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best liberal arts schools in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities in Hawaii

  1. Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    What is Hawaii Pacific University known for?

    Hawaii Pacific University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    What is Chaminade University of Honolulu known for?

    Chaminade University of Honolulu’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/24

    What is Brigham Young University–Hawaii known for?

    Brigham Young University–Hawaii’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

Find the Best Schools in Hawaii for your Major

Resources for College-Bound Students

Photo By: Joel Bradshaw - Own work, CC0