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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

States Boosting Funding, with Caveats

Many states that cut back on higher education funding during the recession are now ready to restore some of those dollars, albeit with strings attached. States are looking for ways to tie funds to student success and affordability.

In Kentucky, the state senate passed a bill to provide $1 billion to public colleges and universities. The amount each school would receive would be based on a variety of performance measures, including:
  • 35% on student success metrics such as graduation rates, number of degrees awarded to low-income and minority students, and number of science and math degrees awarded.
  • 35% on course-completion statistics.
  • 10% on the amount of space devoted to student academics.
  • 10% on how much each school spends on instruction and services.
  • 10% on full-time enrollment.
In Wisconsin, the governor has proposed giving an extra $140 million to the university system, with $35 million covering the cost of a 5% tuition reduction for students and $43 million contingent on “affordability, workforce readiness, student success, efficiency, and service,” according to the University of Wisconsin. The proposal also calls for allowing students to opt out of paying certain fees that support student organizations. Those amount to about $89 of the total $607 in fees charged annually.

Ohio’s governor has proposed slowly increasing funding to public institutions, but schools would have to submit reports on how they’re cutting costs for students. As part of the plan, colleges and universities would also be expected to provide textbooks as part of tuition with a special fee no higher than $300 per year.

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