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Hawaii Universities, Accredited Colleges, and Degrees

Colleges in Hawaii are maintained by the State Postsecondary Education Commission of Hawaii's Office of the Board of Regents. Hawaii's 28 higher education institutions are managed and overseen by the board to ensure students receive a quality education; as such, the board engages in such activities as approving academic programs and running reports in which it makes suggestions for improvements. The board also engages in community outreach and acts as a resource for those interested in colleges and universities in Hawaii. Overall, the board is responsible for ensuring that postsecondary education in Hawaii is easy to access and affordable.

Accredited Colleges & Universities in Hawaii

Out of the 14 four-year universities and colleges in Hawaii, the largest are the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and Hawaii Pacific University. Two of the best universities in the state include UHM and Brigham Young University (BYU)-Hawaii. BYU-Hawaii opened its doors in 1955 and is known for its academics and expectations for students to uphold Mormon ideals during their time at the university and beyond. U.S. News & World Report ranks BYU-Hawaii No. 17 among the best university in the west. Meanwhile, the UHM is ranked No. 156 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. It was founded in 1907 and is located in Laie Oahu.

Hawaii is one of the states that participate in the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), an interstate organization whose participants work together to make higher education affordable and accessible. Through this organization, Hawaii participates in the Interstate Passport Initiative; through this initiative, participants take action to make general education, i.e., "core" requirements simple for students to transfer from one college to another in partnered states. Colleges in Hawaii also do their part to make postsecondary programs less expensive and more accessible by offering online education options. For instance, the University of Hawaii system offers distance learning certificate programs as well as bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees via online learning.

Accredited Community Colleges in Hawaii

There are 14 community colleges in Hawaii; according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the largest of these are Kapiolani Community College (KCC) and Leeward Community College (LCC), which have enrollments of about 9,000 and 8,000 students, respectively. KCC was founded in 1964 and today offers nearly 50 career and degree programs. LCC was established in 1969 and today offers about 70 academic programs. Though LCC and KCC feature online education options through their websites, both school's online courses are also featured on the University of Hawaii System's Distance Learning website.

Initiatives directed at community college education are also common in Hawaii. For instance, the University of Hawaii Community College System created its Achieving the Dream Initiative, which generally aims to increase the number of under-served students gaining an education and degree through three tactics. First, it works to increase the rate at which community college students transfer to a college offering bachelor's degrees or higher. Second, academic policies are analyzed in order to improve them to meet the initiative's goals. Third, retention techniques are explored and utilized, such as making first year students' experience as positive as possible.

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