Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nixon calls for performance-based higher education funding

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Governor Jay Nixon announced a shift in Missouri’s higher education formula at last week’s Higher Education Summit.

Nixon wants to change to a performance-based model instead of an across-the-board approach when higher education allocations increase.

Mineral Area College president Steve Kurtz is strongly in favor of basing funding by meeting key performance indicators. He says his college already keeps track of many of the indicators the state will likely use.

"For us, we already have that culture at the institution," Kurtz said. "It’s just, how do we move with the implementation of a performance-funding model?"

Southeast Missouri State University president Ken Dobbins also favors a performance model and Southeast already tracks its own performance as a whole and within departments. He hopes the governor looks at a rolling average instead of basing funding on individual years because one cannot predict when budget increases will appear and an off year on benchmarks is always possible.

"A three to five year average I think everyone has agreed that’s good both on the numbers you are looking at so far as the benchmarking and also for the overall percentage that you’re going to get of new funding," Dobbins said.

The model is still under development. Officials from the Department of Higher Education indicate there will be three or four statewide goals for each institution to meet and each college and university will choose an additional goal of its own.

The key performance indicators have not yet been decided, but they could include goals for retention rates, degree attainment, student success and quality of student learning, to give a few examples.

The model will be approved Higher Education Commission in December.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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