UH among lowest in per-dollar efficiency
It underperforms relative to the money it gets, a report says
The state is not getting much bang for its buck at the University of Hawaii, according to a new report from a national think tank.
The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems ranks the University of Hawaii as among the five lowest-performing higher education systems per dollar spent.
The report, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, looked at how much money is spent on higher education -- tax money, tuition and fees -- and compared it to performance on factors such as participation in higher education, graduation rates and success in acquiring competitive research funds.
The report, co-authored by Dennis Jones, president of the center and a consultant to the University of Hawaii, found states with low levels of funding for higher-education systems can perform just as well or better than states with relatively high levels of funding.
Hawaii was fourth from the bottom among lowest-performing states with higher levels of funding, ahead of Alaska, Maine and West Virginia, and behind Vermont.
The five highest-performing states relative to resources devoted to higher education are Utah, Massachusetts, Colorado, California and North Dakota.
The report suggests that while the debate over higher-education funding typically focuses on how a state compares with its peers in tax spending and tuition, it leaves out consideration of performance and affordability to students.
"An important interrelated issue that receives less attention is the ability of higher-education institutions to improve levels of performance with the resources they already have -- or with even fewer resources," the report states.
The study also looked at external factors and found that higher personal income and tax capacity and better college preparation in high schools had some influence on how well a state did.
However, the report noted that "there are higher-education sectors in some states that perform well with the resources available -- regardless of certain underlying conditions."
According to the study, four-year UH campuses produce the least bachelor's degrees relative to their student populations, with low numbers of degrees awarded within six years of high school graduation and per undergraduate. When the level of funding is considered, Hawaii ranks second to the last, ahead of Alaska in productivity.
While Hawaii attracts a fair amount of per capita research and development funds, it also spends much more per faculty member to bring in that money.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa's overall rating for public research institutions is second to last, ahead of only Vermont.
Community colleges are closer to the national norms in producing certificates, diplomas and associate degrees per 100 undergraduates and in students finishing within three years. However, Hawaii's level of funding to produce those degrees and certificates ranks the state 11th from the bottom in efficiency.
UH officials were not available yesterday to comment on the report.
UH HAS DEARTH OF DEGREE-EARNERS
A look at where Hawaii ranks lowest among the 50 states relative to spending:
» Number of undergraduates per 100 people aged 18 to 44 with a high school diploma.
» Number of undergraduate credentials awarded per 100 undergraduates.
» Ph.Ds per 1,000 degrees awarded.
» "Educational Pipeline" -- number of ninth-graders who graduate from high school on time, go directly to college, and graduate within three years for associate degrees and six years for bachelor's degrees.
» Bachelor's degrees awarded within six years of high school graduation.
» Bachelor's degrees per full-time equivalent undergraduate students.
» Overall index score for public research institutions.
» Overall index score for public bachelor's and master's institutions.
Source: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
On the Net
» National Center for Higher Education Management Systems: www.higheredinfo.org
» NCHEMS report: www.higheredinfo.org/analyses/