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Higher education funding models changing

Public funding tied to graduation, and not enrollment, in a growing number of states

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Policy makers in both Georgia and Ohio are moving forward with plans to make public dollars contingent on how many students graduate from a state college or university.

Georgia and Ohio are among nearly a dozen states where policy makers are implementing key changes in higher education funding models—and these changes have important implications for colleges and universities.

Policy makers in both Georgia and Ohio are moving forward with plans to make public dollars contingent on how many students graduate from a state college or university, instead of how many students are enrolled.

In Georgia, a commission appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal approved a new formula Dec. 12 that links the state funding colleges receive to whether they are improving student success and the number of degrees or certificates they award. The plan, which won’t go into effect for a few years, represents a dramatic shift from the current system that focuses on enrollment and how many credits students take, with little attention paid to whether they ever graduate.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich will propose a redesigned funding formula for colleges and universities in the two-year budget he’ll unveil in February, the Dayton Daily News reports. The plan will borrow from the findings by a commission led by Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, which recommended that half of the state aid to universities be tied to whether their students graduate.

Georgia’s new higher education funding formula is one of a series of steps that state leaders are taking to acknowledge that their economic future depends on colleges producing a more skilled workforce to attract and keep employers.

(Next page: Will attaching performance requirements to higher education funding harm quality?)

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