Putting Education Reform To The Test

Explaining Performance Funding For Florida Universities

A portion of Florida university's funding depends on how they score on the state's performance funding scale.

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A portion of Florida university's funding depends on how they score on the state's performance funding scale.

A Florida State University researcher says programs which reward colleges and universities for hitting targets — known as performance funding — don’t help more students graduate or stay in school.

Florida has performance funding for its university system. So how does it work?

Universities are scored in ten categories, with a maximum of 50 points. There are two pots of funding determined by a university’s score: $100 million in new funding; and $65 million contributed proportionally from each university’s budget.

Schools must earn at least 25 points out of 50 on the scoring scale to be eligible for a slice of the new funding. But the three lowest-scoring universities do not receive new money, even if they receive a score of more than 25 points.

Schools which score more than 25 points have their share of the $65 million returned to their budget. Schools with lower scores would lose a portion of that funding.

Eight of the categories are the same for every university:

  • Percent of bachelor’s graduates employed or continuing their education
  • Average wages of employed bachelor’s graduates
  • Cost per undergraduate degree
  • Six year graduation rate
  • Percentage of students who remain in school after two years with at least a 2.0 GPA
  • Bachelor’s degrees awarded in key fields.
  • Percent of undergraduates with a federal needs-based Pell grant
  • Graduate degrees awarded in key fields. For New College of Florida, this score is determined by percentage of freshmen in top 10 percent of their high school class.

A school’s score is a combination on whether they met state goals in each category and whether their rate improved or declined from the previous year.

So a school with 65 percent of graduates employed or back in school would earn three points. But they would add two more points if that rate improved from 63 percent the previous year.

Universities are also rated in two additional categories, one chosen by the Board of Trustees at each school and another chosen by the university system Board of Governors.

For the University of Florida and Florida State University, the Board of Governors chose awards for faculty — to emphasize research. New College is rated on national rankings of the school and programs while the other universities are rated based on the percentage of students who graduate without earning excess credit hours.

For more information on the performance funding system, check out the university system’s website.


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