When it comes to helping low-income students afford tuition, the University of Hawaii at Manoa holds its own in comparison to four-year public schools nationally.

UH Manoa’s affordability is thanks to a large amount of federal aid given to in-state, low-income families, according to a ProPublica database that looks at which U.S. colleges help poor students the most.

In fact, the university is ranked in the top quarter nationwide for discount off total cost.

University of Hawaii students sit during undergraduate degree ceremony held at Stan Sheriff Center. 16 may 2015. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The University of Hawaii at Manoa ranked 25th in affordability for low-income students.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Low-income, in-state students at UH Manoa paid an average of $7,363 in 2013 – a 60 percent discount from the total annual cost of $18,491, which includes tuition, books and living expenses.

ProPublica’s rankings use the most recent figures available in 2013 from the U.S. Department of Education, which classifies a low-income family as one that earns up to $48,000 per year.

Schools are ranked in four categories: percentage of students who received a type of federal aid known as Pell grants, average cost for low-income students, average discount for low-income students and median federal debt of Pell grant recipients.

(For a more in-depth breakdown of these figures, click here.)

Stanford University had the lowest average cost for low-income students in the nation at $3,516, while the Catholic University of America had the highest cost at $31,970.

Of Hawaii four-year universities, UH-West Oahu had the lowest total cost at $4,157 – a 58 percent discount from the usual $9,874.

However, UH Manoa still had the highest discount rate for low-income students when stacked up against Hawaii private schools such as Chaminade, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University.

Other UH schools such as Leeward Community College, Honolulu Community College and Kapiolani Community College also had larger discounts for low-income students when compared to other public two-year colleges across the country.

School Total annual cost Low-income student cost Percent Discount
Argosy University—Hawaii $24,733 $15,293 38%
BYU—Hawaii $14,544 $8,239 43%
Chaminade $30,801 $17,200 44%
Hawaii Community College $13,013 $8,235 43%
Hawaii Medical College $17,835 $14,320 20%
Heald College—Honolulu $23,216 $18,363 21%
HPU $29,762 $17,551 41%
Kapiolani Community College $9,242 $3,484 62%
Kauai Community College $10,801 $5,044 53%
Leeward Community College $5,931 $860 85%
New Hope Christian College—Honolulu $18,314 $11,467 37%
Remington College—Honolulu $25,592 $20,508 20%
UH Hilo $15,284 $7,544 51%
UH Maui College $11,240 $6,127 45%
UH—West Oahu $9,874 $4,157 58%
University of Phoenix—Hawaii $24,021 $19,303 20%
Windward Community College $10,933 $5,878 46%

About the Author