Revised report bumps UH to middle on efficiency ratings
It turns out the University of Hawaii and other post-secondary institutions here are more efficient than first reported by a national higher education think tank.
Last month, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems ranked Hawaii near the bottom of a first-ever national report measuring the efficiency of community colleges and universities in the state.
The report compared outcomes like producing degrees, securing research funds and attracting students to college versus the amount of tuition, taxes and fees spent on higher education.
But UH officials questioned the findings, and at their request, the report's authors re-examined their assumptions about Hawaii and significantly revised their report.
Now, the group ranks Hawaii closer to the middle than the bottom -- 27th in the nation rather than 47th overall.
Authors Patrick Kelly and Dennis Jones, who is also a UH consultant, said they double-counted about $100 million in fringe benefits for UH workers when determining how much was spent on higher education.
They also used a lower cost-of-living differential -- estimating Hawaii's cost of living at 16 percent above the mainland average versus 51 percent, which the authors said more accurately reflects the average cost.
As a result, the funding for the public research sector here decreased to $16,901 from $25,282 per full-time student, putting the University of Hawaii 33rd in the nation for overall performance among research universities rather than 49th.
Hawaii also ranks 36th overall among public bachelor's and master's degree institutions.
The revised report shows UH does well in attracting research money to the state for the amount of money spent, Jones said.
But the state is still below average in getting students to pursue higher education and in graduating students once they get into community colleges and universities.
"It's gratifying to know for our funding we're not out of character with other higher-education efforts," Linda Johnsrud, the university's vice president for academic planning and policy, said yesterday.
But Johnsrud acknowledged that the revised report shows the university needs to do more to increase the number of graduating high school students who got to college and improve on their ability to graduate within six years.
"For the money we're getting, we're doing about average, and our goal is to do better," she said.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REVISED UH REPORT
Where Hawaii ranks above average:
» Per capita research and development
» Research expenditures per full-time faculty
» Ph.D.s per 1,000 degrees awarded
Where Hawaii is below average:
» Bachelor's degrees awarded within six years of high school graduation
» Bachelor's degrees per full-time equivalent undergraduate students
» "Educational pipeline," the 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
Source: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems