Friday, August 22, 2003

BYU-Hawaii rates highly
among colleges in West

Brigham Young University-Hawaii held onto a top-10 ranking among Western undergraduate schools, and the University of Hawaii-Manoa saw its international business program rise to 12th in the country in this year's U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of "America's Best Colleges."

Five Hawaii universities are ranked in the magazine's annual issue, which will be on newsstands Monday.

Princeton and Harvard share the top spot in this year's rankings, Yale is ranked third and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology fourth.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii is listed sixth among comprehensive colleges for bachelor's degrees in the Western region. With an overall score of 64 of a possible 100, BYU-Hawaii got a peer assessment score of 3.5 on a 5-point scale and posted a 66 percent average freshman retention rate and 40 percent average graduation rate. The student faculty ratio was 16-to-1, and BYUH was noted for its low acceptance rate of 30 percent.

"For the last three years, we have been in the top 10 for our type of school, and the year before that, we were 11th," said Rob Wakefield, BYUH's director of communications. "We're quite pleased that we've been in this top tier for three years now. It's certainly a plus."

Hawaii Pacific University was listed in the second tier of universities that offer undergraduate and master's degrees, with a peer assessment score of 2.6 on a 5-point scale. Average freshman retention rate was 72 percent, and average graduation rate was 41 percent. The student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1.

The University of Hawaii-Manoa was listed in the third tier of best national universities -- schools that offer degrees from bachelor's to doctorate level. It received a peer assessment of 2.7 on a 5-point scale, a 78 percent freshman retention rate and a 53 percent average graduation rate.

"We've been in the third tier for quite some time," so the ranking was not a surprise, said Jim Manke, director of public affairs for UH-Manoa. "We do pay attention to the rankings every year because we believe they are somewhat useful to students when they are making comparisons."

UH-Manoa's international business program was 12th in the country, up from 20th in prior years, Manke noted.

Chaminade University was listed in the fourth tier of schools offering undergraduate and master's degree programs for the Western region. It received a peer assessment score of 2.6; its average freshman retention rate is 68 percent; and its average graduation rate is 37 percent. Chaminade had a student-faculty ratio of 17-to-1 in 2002.

The University of Hawaii-Hilo was listed in the fourth tier of best liberal arts colleges. It received a peer assessment score of 2.2 on a scale of 5. UH-Hilo also posted a 60 percent average freshman retention rate and a 32 percent graduation rate in 2002.

U.S. News uses a formula that includes graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and other factors to determine the rankings, which are both popular and controversial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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