The U.S. Department of Education has listed three University of Hawaii community colleges in its index of the 95 public two-year institutions with the lowest net prices in the country.

The net price factors in the average cost of attending college — including tuition, fees and other expenses — as well as the average amount of institutional and federal financial aid provided by the campus.

Hawaii's Community College Trap NO TYPE

Honolulu Community College in April 2014

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Leeward Community College offered the state’s lowest net price during the 2011-12 school year with its $1,745 price tag, making it the 16th most affordable community college in the country. Kapiolani Community College’s net cost was $3,752, while that for Honolulu Community College was $3,882.

The national average was $7,163, according to USDOE data.

“Achieving a low net price in Hawaii is quite an accomplishment in light of the extraordinarily high cost of living in Hawaii compared to other parts of the country,” said community colleges Vice President John Morton in a statement. “Offering affordable, open door access to a college education through our community colleges remains one of our top priorities.”

Despite the low cost of attendance, Hawaii’s community colleges, just like their mainland counterparts, struggle with low on-time graduation rates. Read Civil Beat’s report on the state’s “community-college trap” here.

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