Eye on Education

What the Next State Budget Could Mean for Ohio Higher Education

Gov. Kasich's administration has suggested that the next state budget will be tight and conservative.

Gov. John Kasich’s next budget will be like a Banana Republic dress: tight and conservative.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

…Administration officials say it was made clear to the [college and university] presidents that Kasich intends to offer up another tight, conservative budget early next year that probably won’t have as much money for higher education as the school leaders would hope.

Kasich also wants to put more emphasis on funding Ohio college and universities based on graduation rates.

That’s not a completely new idea: Performance funding for higher education is a concept that, like the third grade reading guarantee, has waxed and waned in popularity over the years and is now enjoying a resurgence (if education policy concepts can enjoy things).

Ohio has used some form of performance funding for higher education since at least 1995.

So does performance funding for higher education work?

A research review by A 2011 review by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College explains that some evidence suggests performance funding can change how college and universities operate:

The studies reviewed… provide evidence that performance funding does have immediate impacts on colleges in the form of changes in funding, greater awareness of state priorities and of their own institutional performance, and increased status competition among institutions. Furthermore, there is evidence that performance funding does lead to intermediate changes in the form of greater use of data in institutional planning and policymaking and changes in academic and student service policies and practices intended to improve student outcomes.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean higher graduation rates:

At the same time, the research literature does not provide firm evidence that performance funding significantly increases rates of remedial completion, retention, and graduation. When these claims are made, they are not based on solid data that control for other possible causes of changes in student outcomes beyond performance funding.



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