States fund public colleges primarily based on how many students are enrolled. But a number of legislatures are considering policies that instead would link funding to whether students graduate, USA Today reports. Lawmakers in Ohio appear likely to adopt a plan, introduced this year, that would base 100 percent of higher education spending on course and degree completion. Indiana is considering a similar but more modest proposal. And in Louisiana, the governor and Legislature have called for plans that tie 25 percent of higher-education funding to student success. The concept of rewarding institutions that meet certain goals has been around for about 30 years, but the newer proposals focus more on student outcomes and involve more money. The renewed interest reflects a growing concern that the U.S. has fallen behind other countries in college completion rates at a time when higher education is more important than ever. "We as legislatures have been giving higher education a pass on accountability," says Julie Bell of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "With tuition going up … there’s a whole new thinking about productivity."

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