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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More States Start Funding Colleges Based on Outcomes

Under a new state law, Rhode Island’s public colleges won’t get additional state funding simply for enrolling more students. They will have to prove that they’re making progress on goals such as increasing graduation rates.

Over 30 states now partially—or in Tennessee’s case, almost completely—fund higher education based on metrics such as graduation rates, course completions and the share of low-income students enrolled. States have applied these formulas only to two-year colleges, only to four-year colleges, or to all their public institutions.

It’s not yet clear whether such funding incentives will lead to progress on the goals lawmakers have identified. Some critics worry that outcomes-based funding models will just pressure colleges to become more selective in admissions, for example.

Earlier this year the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, released a reportthat summarized the mixed research and concluded that higher education institutions are simply too complex to be reformed by a funding tweak.

Yet the idea of funding college based on outcomes has an irresistible, bipartisan appeal, particularly as lawmakers try to rein in the cost of college and ensure that students’ tuition dollars pay off.

Alabama is among the states currently considering adopting an outcomes-based funding formula. Other states that have already adopted formulas are deepening their commitment to this kind of funding. Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker plans to propose allocating any additional university funding according to performance criteria in his next budget (Wisconsin already partly funds its two-year colleges based on performance).



Anonymous said...

Sounds good in theory but what is stopping them from lowing the requirements for graduation. Just like they have done with high schools. If the entity is dependent on state money for survival they will do whatever they have to in order to ensure they receive that money. We will see a further dumbing down of college students.

Regulated into oblivion.

Anonymous said...

More funds for higher graduation rates? They'll just make graduation easier.

If you're going to tie funding to any goal, it should be financial. A higher salary would discourage useless majors like underwater basket weaving. Higher loan repayment standards would discourage these untenable tuition rates.

The other criteria I can think of would be % of students passing professional certification exams would verify quality of programs. Certified teachers, CPAs, Engineers, Lawyers, etc. will all have a decent shot at a good wage.

Anonymous said...

I've been teaching in this county for over 20 years and have seen standards lowered every year. I have seen students graduate with made up grades and classes. Expectations do nothing to improve education. They just make things up.

Anonymous said...

All three previous comments are bullseye!

Grade inflation in colleges has some of its roots in the Vietnam era. Before long they'll be sending the diplomas in the same envelope as the acceptance letter.