UH-Hilo again tops diversity rankings

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald University of Hawaii at Hilo students transition between classes Friday on campus.
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald University of Hawaii at Hilo students transition between classes Friday on campus.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo has been ranked the most diverse four-year public university in the nation by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In the chronicle’s recently published 2018 Almanac, UH-Hilo was given a “diversity index” of 88.9 out of 100, the highest in the nation.

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Zachery Street, director of admissions for UH-Hilo, said the chronicle uses U.S. Department of Education statistics to determine the statistical likelihood of a student from any given background encountering a student of a different background.

Street said this is not the first year UH-Hilo has been ranked No. 1 in diversity, having been top-ranked in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s not a new thing for us, but it’s nice to be at the top again,” Street said.

The second-highest-ranked university for diversity is Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology at Okmulgee, with a diversity index of 87.1.

Street said UH-Hilo’s consistently strong diversity rankings is both a side effect of being located in the very ethnically diverse Hawaii — two other UH campuses, UH Hawaii Maui and UH Hawaii West Oahu, appear among the top five diversity ratings — as well as the result of admissions practices that emphasize diversity.

“Hawaii’s so diverse on its own, and that’s one of the great things about it,” Street said. “We also do believe that diversity is one of the most powerful forces in education.”

Ethnicity data for UH-Hilo’s fall 2018 semester is not yet available, but spring 2018 data indicates that Native Hawaiian students made up the largest single ethnic group at the university that semester, representing nearly 29 percent of all students. White students made up the second-largest group, with 23 percent, and mixed-race students were the third-largest, at 13 percent.

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All combined Asian or Pacific Islander students represented a majority of the UH-Hilo student body in 2018, at nearly 58 percent.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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