Giving Incentives to Colleges and Universities

As states establish new ways for funding institutions of higher education, Virginia finds itself moving forward with incentivizing colleges and universities instead of only providing across-the-board- base funding each year.

Governor McDonnell mentioned the reform recently as he unveiled his proposed $200 million  higher education funding increase.  This year, each institution can benefit from a pool of more than $20 million for improved performance in areas with an associated point value. That amount will grow in the future.  Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash says the model promotes more degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Healthcare.

“STEM-H majors graduating in less than four years or in the number of credit hours you need for a degree, and in the under-represented populations, the institutions get points associated with those behaviors. The points are tallied and then those points are divided by the number of dollars that you have to spend. So what’s nice about this model is that it can be flexible depending on how much money is available to put towards this effort.”

Other performance measures include increased use of facilities year-round, technology, and enrolling more Virginians.  Fornash says budget language will require institutions to allocate funds according to goals in their six-year plans and the Governor’s Top Jobs Higher Education Reform law.

-by Tommie McNeil

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