Lawmakers hear from officials on higher education funding formula

Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

by Nick Thompson

Missouri education policymakers and university officials agree performance-based funding should be integral in the new higher education funding formula the Joint Committee on Education must develop by Dec. 31, 2013.

Witnesses testified at a hearing Oct. 23 at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. It was the second of three hearings the committee is holding to receive input for its new formula.

Brian Long of the Council on Public Higher Education said the council agrees with the Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s suggestion that half of any new appropriations to colleges and universities should be allocated based on performance.

“We strongly support performance funding as a way to achieve goals,” Long said.

Long said performance measures are common measures that universities, the state and students should agree to develop.

Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, the committees’ chair, said the goal of the hearings is to gain insight into the diverse goals and missions of the states’ institutions.

“What we need to do is to come up with a system where we are looking at certain things that are somewhat standard across the board, and the institutions can basically compare their own progress against themselves to see how they are doing,” Pearce said.

University of Central Missouri President Chuck Ambrose said he values job placement coupled with affordability.

Cheryl Riley, the Faculty Senate President at the University of Central Missouri, said, “increased access and degree completion is important to the economic well-being of our state.”

Riley said metrics could be the number of Missourians served, years to a degree, tuition rates and job placement into degree fields.

Lawmakers were charged with creating such a formula during the fiscal 2013 budget debate, where a dispute over college funding threatened to derail the entire budget process.