Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why Performance Funding Will Mean Tougher Admission Standards In Florida


A performance based funding system would bring more money to Florida colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates.

What will a performance funding system for Florida’s post-secondary institutions look like?

State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan defines it as “awarding money to institutions based on performance in key measures of student success.”

The Florida Board of Governors (BOG) is meeting today at New College of Florida in Sarasota and discussing the idea.

BOG Vice Chairman Mori Hosseini said a performance funding system should include a measure of students who graduate in a reasonable period of time.

“How many of our kids come to university that should not be in university; that after six years, they don’t graduate and they leave with $21,000 average in debt? That’s devastating to a family,” Hosseini said.

He said universities need to grow — in the right direction. Hosseini said that means not accepting students that “you know from day one” are not going to graduate.

The BOG is requesting $118 million from the Legislature for universities based on specific goals, including:

  • Improving graduation and retention rates
  • Ensuring access to baccalaureate degrees
  • Increasing graduate education opportunities
  • Increasing support for critical research

So far, board members have identified about 40 metrics for measuring how such funding would be allocated. That number will be whittled down significantly.

“I think once you get to the point of having 40 metrics for anything, it’s easy to lose focus on really what’s important,” said Tom Kuntz, vice chairman of the BOG Budget Committee.

Kuntz said the intent of Wednesday’s discussion was “not to reach any conclusions,” but to provide an update and take feedback.

The budget committee heard a presentation based on a report from the Center for American Progress. It looks at best practices in six states that use performance-based funding.

From the report:

Performance-based funding is a system based on allocating a portion of a state’s higher education budget according to specific performance measures such as course completion, credit attainment, and degree completion, instead of allocating funding based entirely on enrollment.

It is a model that provides a fuller picture of how successfully institutions have used their state appropriations to support students throughout their college careers and to promote course and degree completion.

Furthermore, this funding structure incorporates both enrollment and performance metrics as incentives for colleges to continue to make progress on these important objectives.

Board members expect to make some decisions at their next meeting in January.


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