HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Pacific University climbed 10 places in the top Regional Universities in the West in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2014,” released today. That comes on the heels of a six-place jump in last year’s ranking, school officials noted.
The 16-place swing over two years is uncommon by U.S. News standards. HPU is the top-ranked private university in Hawai‘i, and while it places in a four-way tie for 71st among the Western regional campuses, it is now among the top 45 private campuses in that category and among the top five privates not associated with a religious institution.
University leaders attribute the rankings progress to improvements in the prevalence of small classes (now 65 percent of HPU’s course sections), the share of first-year students who graduated in the top quarter of their high school class (53 percent) and modest growth in the “peer assessment score.” The latter represents the opinion that university leaders beyond HPU and high school counselors have of the institution, and HPU’s score was among the top 50 for public and private regional universities in the West.
“We’ve charted a bold vision for HPU, to be consistently recognized among the top 10 private masters granting universities in the West, and I’m pleased with the progress that U.S. News & World Report’s new rankings show toward that goal,” said HPU President Geoffrey Bannister.
Last month, the website CollegeFactual.com named HPU the most diverse university in America, with particular strengths in ethnic and geographic diversity. Also last month, Princeton Review named HPU among the “Best in the West,” its listing of the top 124 campuses in the 15 Western states.
And in July, AffordableCollegesOnline.org ranked HPU tops among Hawai‘i private universities for “lifetime return on investment.”
The university’s progress is also helping to attract more students and enhancing the academic profile of the student body. While enrollment numbers won’t be final until later this month, preliminary indications are that the university has charted significant gains in freshmen and new degree-seeking international students, while freshman SAT scores are up a combined 33.3 percent over the past two years.
“We seek to add value to the student experience and our academic programs every day,” said HPU Provost Matthew Liao-Troth. “To the degree that U.S. News & World Report and other media recognize that, we’re glad to be included in their listings and to use them to help make the next generation of HPU students and families aware of what is happening at our university and what a singular place it is for both a great education and a real adventure.”
Hawai‘i Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with 7,500 students from the United States and more than 80 foreign nations. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.