Examine university for its efficiency
A study gives the University of Hawaii low grades for making use of its budget.
UNIVERSITY of Hawaii officials have taken pride in tuition levels being among the lowest in the nation, but a new report raises questions
about whether UH is such a good deal after all. The report ranks the university as among the five lowest-performing higher education systems per dollar spent. Further analysis is needed to determine how to improve UH's grades.
The report, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, was conducted by the National Center for Higher Education Management and co-authored by Dennis P. Jones, the center's president and a recent UH consultant. It compares the amount of tax revenue, tuition and fees spent on public higher education with how well the institutions perform their missions.
Generally, the report asserts, "Unless some credible evidence can be made readily available about the extent to which the system -- and sectors within the system -- are or are not underfunded, special pleading from some institutions claiming that they are underfunded will continue to drown out voices representing other perspectives."
The report found the UH system to be fourth-worst in performance by institutions with higher levels of funding, second to last in productivity and public research, and dead last in areas of the percentage of students earning bachelor's degrees and the number of degrees earned within six years of high school graduation.
Jones visited UH in 2003 and was critical of its "uneven and disconnected" planning and policy activities and its failure to develop a financial plan. "There is need for a system accountability mechanism that in a straightforward way reflects progress toward achieving key state priorities," he reported back to UH.
Among other things, Jones recommended a new tuition strategy. Since then, UH devised a plan to increase the tuition of $1,752 per semester in the last school year to $3,912 in 2010-2011. Those tuition hikes should be accompanied by evidence of increased efficiency.
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