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Higher education leader introduces new formula to fund colleges

CHARLESTON — The leader of a state agency that oversees the state’s four-year public college system presented a new plan to lawmakers on Wednesday that would tie a college’s state funding to their performance.

Paul Hill, chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, described the three-pronged formula to members of the House Education Committee as a part of his agency’s annual budget presentation. Among other things, the formula would tie a college’s funding to how many students the college graduates.

“We all know some institutions have grown — West Virginia University is bigger, for instance, than it was a few years ago,” Hill said. “And some of our institutions are smaller. Our model now doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

The Legislature has long sought some sort of funding model for higher education. In years past, determining how much a college received from the state was based almost exclusively on what the school had received the year before.

A provision was tacked on to an education bill near the end of last year’s session that required the HEPC to develop a formula for the Legislature to review.

Hill’s formula would tie 70 percent of a college’s funding to the number of credit hours in-state students are enrolled in at that college. Within this first prong, certain academic disciplines could be weighted, as well as how high the course level is and how many at-risk students are enrolled.

The second prong would tie 5 percent of a college’s funding to the number of in-state students who are on track to graduate on time. The final prong would tie 25 percent of funding to how many degrees the school awards to in-state students. The formula would calculate how much a college should receive using data on a three-year, rolling average, which means a college with a single bad year of performance wouldn’t have its funding yanked.

In an interview after the committee met, its chairman, Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, didn’t offer any specific changes to Hill’s proposal. He said the formula Hill presented Wednesday shouldn’t be seen as a final plan, but the starting point for negotiations on a formula that could come later in the session.

“I think one of the things that has become apparent to me and many of my colleagues in both the House and in the Senate, is that there’s just very little rationality of how we fund our institutions,” Espinosa said. “There’s been discussion over the years about trying to introduce some kind of performance-based model, perhaps, to bring some rationality to funding decisions.”

Espinosa said he’d like a joint committee from members of the education and finance committees of both chambers to meet to discuss the issue. He’s cautiously optimistic that the Legislature will begin to move toward some sort of funding model, but only time will tell.

“We need to give some thought and some considerations on how we transition to a model that is more phased on performance metrics, without causing undue hardships on some of our institutions which might not fair so well with that model,” Espinosa said.

Hill’s formula would include a “hold-harmless provision” for the first three years of its implementation, followed by a two-year phase-out period as colleges adjust to the formula. He said this would prevent certain colleges from potentially seeing a large drop or increase in funding during when the switchover occurs.

Also Wednesday, committee members questioned Hill on the cost of the HEPC’s rent for several floors of a building on Kanawha Boulevard. Ed Magee, the commission’s vice chancellor of finance, said the school spends about $15 per square foot of office space.

Hill said the commission has considered purchasing its own building, which in the long-run would be cheaper. But in the short-term, he said, the commission would need additional appropriations to undertake such a purchase.

The commission has considered moving into South Charleston’s West Virginia Regional Technology Park, which the state already owns and the commission oversees through an independent board of directors. Hill said that option went away when sales and marketing firm N3 moved into the space last year.

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Luxembourg increases higher education funding by 25 per cent

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Governor’s support of U of M’s full request highlights impact of higher education

Today, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler joined Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget Myron Frans as the Commissioner announced Governor Mark Dayton’s full support for the University’s entire 2018 capital request.

The Governor’s recommendation for the state bonding bill includes the University’s full capital request as advanced by the Board of Regents ($238.5 million for the renewal of facilities across the state) plus an additional $50 million for critical facilities maintenance and an additional $10 million for design of a new Clinical Research Facility on the Twin Cities campus, which emphasizes the Governor’s support of a strong Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota.

President Kaler responded to the Governor’s historic announcement:

“The University of Minnesota, with five campuses, extension offices and research centers around the state, adds significant educational, cultural and economic value to communities in every corner of Minnesota. Governor Mark Dayton has shown extraordinary support for the University of Minnesota, and I am enormously grateful.

“Governor Dayton’s public works proposal supports improvements on our campuses, helping to reduce a backlog in deferred building maintenance while making strategic investments to renew facilities. Our facilities—originally built with state funding—are in dire need of repair, and now is the time to reinvest in the University’s strong legacy of keeping the state at the forefront of emerging knowledge and preparing the future leaders of Minnesota.

“This session, I urge passage of a robust bonding bill and I urge all policymakers to invest in infrastructure that supports Minnesota’s students and families, renews our facilities and enhances Minnesota’s economy and wellbeing.”

The University of Minnesota’s 2018 capital request includes four priority initiatives totaling $238.5 million in state funding:

Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funding will maximize the effectiveness and extend the life of University facilities across the state. Projects include: (1) health, safety and accessibility; (2) building systems; (3) utility infrastructure; and (4) energy efficiency. The HEAPR request totals $200 million in state funding. The Governor’s recommendation includes an additional $50 million in HEAPR investment.

Greater MN Academic Renewal funding will renovate and renew obsolete classrooms and laboratories in five buildings on the University of Minnesota Crookston, Duluth and Morris campuses. Underutilized spaces will be converted into modern facilities that meet students’ needs. This request includes $10.5 million in state funding and $5.3 million in University investment.

Pillsbury Hall Capital Renewal investment will renovate the obsolete and unused science building on the East Bank of the Twin Cities campus into modern teaching, learning and research spaces to serve more than 6,000 students studying the humanities. The initiative includes $24 million in state funding and $12 million in University investment.

The Glensheen Renewal initiative will use a state investment of $4 million to create a Glensheen Renewal Challenge, which will be a program to match one-for-one donations to preserve the historic Glensheen mansion in Duluth.

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Seven ways Gov. Bevin’s proposed budget affects education in Kentucky

Gov. Matt Bevin had plenty to say about education in his budget address Tuesday night to lawmakers, saying he wished he could do more for students in classrooms while admonishing school districts that pay too many administrators. He also talked about spending “millions of dollars” in reserves held by both local school districts and state universities.

It’s not yet clear how schools and universities will deal with Bevin’s proposed 6.25 percent spending cut, which Bevin said would not affect the main funding formula for K-12 schools. It’s also not clear how many of the “about 70” programs Bevin proposed to eliminate are education related.

Here are seven ways Bevin’s proposal will affect K-12 and higher education in Kentucky.

▪ The budget would cut about $138 million in state funds for student transportation in school districts. In his speech, Bevin said he wanted districts to make up that money by spending some of the $950 million in their reserve funds. However, those reserve funds are required by law, so spending that money would require legislative action.

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“Local school boards are required by law to maintain reserves because they are critical in unexpected emergencies, such as catastrophic loss of buildings, which several districts have experienced in recent years,” said Eric Kennedy of the Kentucky School Boards Association. “Reserves also help districts cope with unexpected losses of revenue occurring through no fault of their own, which about a dozen districts in the eastern coalfield are currently experiencing due to the unmined coal tax assessment change undertaken by the state. In districts that have already used their reserves to handle these emergency situations, cost shifts from the state are doubly concerning.”

▪ The main funding formula for K-12 would stay the same as last year, about $3,981 per student. However, the budget has lots of cuts to programs that support students in other ways, such as virtual learning and school improvement funds.

▪ Bevin decried the millions spent on administrative salaries by school districts, singling out Jefferson and Fayette counties in particular.

The administrators “who don’t touch your students, who don’t teach in the classroom, that’s where the cuts are going to come from,” Bevin said. “I’m telling you we need to clean that up in a big way.”

▪ Bevin said 100 percent of Kentucky Lottery proceeds will be used for student scholarships, and pledged another $100 million for workforce development projects that are shared between educational entities and local communities.

▪ The proposed budget would eliminate funding for a host of higher education programs, including the Kentucky Coal County Completion Program in Eastern Kentucky, the Research Challenge Trust Fund, once known as Bucks for Brains, and the Science and Technology Funding Program.

▪ The budget would establish a $300 million bond pool to help state universities with nearly $6 billion in deferred maintenance on their aging campuses.

▪ Bevin proposed spending $2.3 billion over two years to help stabilize the Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky. However, local school districts would have to help pay for their employee’s health insurance.

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Legislative leaders react to Bevin’s budget plan

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, left, and Senate President Robert Stivers comment on Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget on Jan. 16, 2018.

Jack Brammer

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UO joins higher education advocacy effort in Salem

Around the O is the UO’s go-to place for information about the university, its people and the difference they make in Oregon and around the world. We bring stories of the university’s groundbreaking research and world-class faculty and students to the broadest possible audience, while also serving as the hub for news, announcements and information of interest to the campus community.

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Clif Smart on task force for higher education performance funding reform

Next year, higher education in Missouri will see a new way of receiving funds. Standards will be higher and institutions will need to measure up in six categories, determined by a task force of education officials throughout the state.

Universities used to pick the standards they were measured by. Before the performance funding model reform, Missouri State University President Clif Smart said, the state would provide a “menu” of 12 to 15 measures and schools would choose which they felt should be applied to their institution. MSU was measured by five of them. 

Zora Mulligan, Missouri’s commissioner of higher education, assembled a task force to overhaul this model after hearing concerns that the system was not rigorous enough to assess schools properly or address all the issues some schools were facing. She said Smart was a leader on the task force. 

“Clif was an extremely important voice in the conversation,” Mulligan said. “He understood very intuitively the importance of answering the questions that (were) being asked of us by the governor’s office.”

The task force — around a dozen individuals from higher education institutions across the state, the governor’s office and members of Missouri’s House and Senate staff — assembled a new performance funding model with six measures to apply to each school.

“There was a series of conversations of concerns about the existing model,” Mulligan said. “It didn’t address (all) the issues. … We are also working with a new governor’s office that has their own set of priorities.”

The four-year model, under which MSU will operate, determines the school’s eligibility for funds by the completion of full time, four year students; the percent of students meeting or exceeding performance assessments; operating salaries; the percent of the school’s total budget spent on the core mission, in comparison to the percent of the budget spent on non-core mission; affordability and job placement of graduate students — including graduate school and the military — within six months of graduation.

 “This task force worked really hard to create six new funding measures,” Smart said. “They focus on efficiency, affordability and student success. … Three of the measures are new and three are from the old model.”

Smart also said the old funding model only applied to new money, and it didn’t apply to funding cuts. So, every higher education institution in Missouri faced the same 9 percent cut last year, regardless of revenue and how they measured up.

Smart said he believes MSU will do fine under the new model.

“We are good on affordability, good on efficiency and good on student success,” Smart said. “The bigger thing for students to be aware of is, if the state funds us less and less each year, the only way to make that up is more students or higher tuition.”

On the flip side, Smart said, if the university sees more state funding, students may see less in tuition. He said that 98 percent of the money that funds MSU comes from one of two places: 34 percent comes from the state and 64 percent comes from tuition. The remaining two percent comes from other places, like donations.

“If you push down on one side, the other side has to go up, or quality will suffer,” Smart said.

Missouri’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education adopted the funding model in December of 2017, and, in fiscal year 2019, it will be instated.

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Illinois’ higher education leaders at odds over proposed budget

Seeking state money for higher education in Illinois used to be somewhat routine.

Colleges, universities and education agencies sent wish lists to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, whose members crunched the numbers and presented them to state legislators. Lawmakers, in turn, provided the funds — usually a sizable chunk of income for the state’s public institutions.

That was before the two-year budget impasse threw that ritual off-kilter. Schools and the state board twice went through the formality of requesting funding from Springfield only to see their funding dissipate during the stalemate.

Now, state education officials are discovering that getting back to normal isn’t so easy.

House Finance discusses outcomes-based funding for higher education – Charleston Gazette

Higher Education Policy Commission chancellor Paul Hill updated members of the House Finance Committee Monday on a study to move funding of state colleges and universities to an outcomes-based model.

Under the proposal, 70 percent of funding would be based on credit hours taken, with higher-level courses, and STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) weighted more heavily. Total degrees awarded would account for 25 percent of funding, with student success — measured by several factors, including graduation and retention rates — accounting for 5 percent of the funding formula.

The Legislature mandated that the HEPC study shifting state higher education funding from the current student headcount formula to an outcomes-based formula, with a goal of improving graduation rates, which Hill said range from 54 percent at West Virginia University to the 20-30 percent range for some state institutions.

“We’ve all heard stories about students who go to college, but simply don’t complete their degrees,” he said.

Currently, 23 states have similar outcome-based measures to determine state funding for higher education, Hill said.

He said the commission is expected to review an interim report on the study in March, and House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said he wants to hold a joint meeting of Finance and House Education committees as more information on outcome-based funding becomes available.

Hill said improving graduation rates is critical, since studies indicate that by 2020, 51 percent of all jobs in the state will require at least a two-year associate’s degree.

“Among the population of West Virginia, we have barely 30 percent who reach that definition,” Hill said.

On the positive side, he noted that some 18,500 students graduated last spring with either two-year or four-year college degrees, a record number despite ongoing reductions in state funding for higher education since 2013.

In the 2012-13 budget year, the base budget for higher education was $309 million. Currently, that budget has dropped $64 million, or 21 percent, to $245 million.

Currently, state support covers about 28 percent of the per-student cost of attending college, he said.

Also Monday, Hill said about 12,000 of the 58,900 students enrolled in state colleges and universities are receiving PROMISE scholarships. About 40 percent of PROMISE scholars come from households with incomes over $100,000, he said.

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Legislators wonder how to fund $600M for K-12 education

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Legislators wonder how to fund $600M for K-12 education

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Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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