Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Jan 18, 2006
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Feb 10, 2006
Extract from a critique by Mary Tiles on the NCHEMS report of 2003
Dennis Jones 2003 NCHEMS Report [Summary] [Slides]
PowerPoint of Jones' presentation, Sep 30, 2004
Honolulu Star Bulletin, Jan 18, 2006
It underperforms relative to the money it gets, a report says
By Craig Gima
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.
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/Policy%20Guide%20Dec2005.pdf
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Feb 10, 2006
By Craig Gima
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.
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
Other recommendations made in the Jones report seems to be internally inconsistent and possibly based on faulty data. His number of FTE students per FTE faculty at Manoa for 2000 is 8.3, which seems not to square with numbers in other available reports, e.g., 2001 undergraduate 14.41 to 1, and graduate 5.65 to 1 from a MAPS report.
The suggestions that enrollment growth should be steered toward campuses less expensive than Manoa, and that more efficiencies be sought by running large lower division classes ignore the fact Manoa is the only campus currently having the capacity to run such large classes, and even there capacity is limited by the nature of its physical plant.
If Jones is thinking of large distance delivered, or technology mediated lower division classes, this is inconsistent with his observations about the lack of preparedness of students coming from Hawaii high schools. Under-prepared students need more, and more face-to-face, attention than well prepared students. It is not clear that costs would be reduced by moving to a greater dependency on technology; many studies show this to be more expensive than traditional classroom instruction.
He also notes that improving retention is more cost efficient than increasing lower division enrollments. Increased retention requires making sure that there is not a large drop-out rate in lower division courses. Drop out rates are usually higher in large classes and in distance delivered classes.