Student Loans in Hawaii: Debt Statistics


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Hawaii borrowers have an average federal and private student loan balance of $ 33,244, 9% lower than the national average of $ 36,689.

Residents of Aloha State who wish to pursue a lower-cost college education benefit from incentives such as Hawai’i Promise, which funds shortfalls in financial aid for enrollment in local community colleges.

Although the state helps students afford higher education through these needs-based programs, many students have to borrow federal and private student loans in Hawaii to pay for the rest of their education.

Student loans in Hawaii: borrowers owe an average of $ 33,244 in federal and private debt – and more facts

Overview of student debt in Hawaii
The equilibrium mean $ 33,244
Total outstanding debt $ 4.5 billion
Number of borrowers 0.1 million
Average total monthly payment $ 279
Note: Averages include federal and private student debt.

Low-income undergraduates who did not earn a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for the program Hawai’i Promise Scholarship. As a “last dollar” scholarship, students must first submit their Free Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.

Scholarship funds are used to bridge the gap between federal aid received and the cost of attending a community college at the University of Hawai’i (UH). Recipients can apply to one of the system’s seven UH community colleges, including two in Honolulu.

The UH system also includes three college campuses that offer students a four-year degree. These campuses include:

  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • University of Hawaii at Mānoa
  • University of Hawaii – West O’ahu

In addition to its public system of colleges and universities, the state is home to many private institutions, such as Hawai’i Pacific University and Chaminade University. Although a public institution costs residents less than a private school, students attending either type of school often have to rely on private student loans for additional help.

Student Loan Debt in Largest Hawaii County: Honolulu

Student loan debt in Hawaii’s most populous county
county Average student loan balance Average monthly student loan payment
Honolulu $ 33,675 $ 289
Note: Limited to counties with a population of 300,000 or more; averages include federal and private student debt.

Hawaii Student Loan Debt By Zip Code: Honolulu

Honolulu, HI
Postal code Estimated average student loan balance
Citywide $ 32,443
96819 $ 29,825
96821 $ 47,523
96825 $ 43,362
96826 $ 36,078

Loan Repayment Programs for Residents of Hawaii

Participating in student loan forgiveness and repayment programs help borrowers manage their debt after graduation. Hawaii residents have access to a few programs to reduce their student loan debt.

John R. Justice Hawaii Student Loan Repayment Program

The John R. Justice Hawaii Student Loan Repayment Program is a federally funded program available to public defenders and prosecutors working in the state. Participants must have eligible loans in good standing, earn less than $ 90,000 per year, and commit to a service agreement of at least three years.

Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program (HSLRP)

The HSLRP is a federal cost-sharing program partially funded and administered by Hawaii. It is available to primary and behavioral care providers who agree to serve in areas of health worker shortage (HPSA) in the state. Applicants must have a full Hawaii license and commit to a minimum two-year contract to receive loan repayment assistance.

Public Service Loan Discount (PSLF)

Under the PSLF program, participants who work full-time for a government or nonprofit employer may qualify for a loan discount, regardless of their occupation. Hawaii borrowers suing the PSLF must have direct loans, enroll in an income-based repayment plan, and make 120 qualifying payments. The outstanding direct loan balance is canceled.

Hawaii federal student loan borrowers under 25 owe less than national average – and more comparisons

How to refinance student loans in Hawaii

In Hawaii, 7.9% of borrowers have a federal student loan balance of $ 100,000 or more. One repayment strategy that could be of benefit to six-figure borrowers is student loan refinancing.

Through student loan refinancing, residents of Hawaii can combine their federal and private student loans. The initial loans are fully repaid by the refinancing lender and a new loan of the total balance is created as part of a private loan. When buy a student loan refinance, borrowers must compare several lenders to find their lowest rates and the best terms.

While refinancing federal loans is an option, there are caveats to this approach. Borrowers will no longer be eligible for valuable loan cancellation programs or will no longer have access to income-based repayment programs. And while some private lenders offer deferral and forbearance on a case-by-case basis, the requirements for these options vary from lender to lender.

Before refinancing, borrowers should consider whether they will need federal loan benefits in the future and how refinancing affects their monthly loan payments and long-term costs.


  • US Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
  • Anonymized credit reports My LendingTree June 2020
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York / Equifax Consumer Credit Panel as of June 2020

Since this latest data is from 2015, the researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using state-wide data from anonymized credit reports.

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