- Lawmakers in Arkansas have advanced a bill to change the state's funding formula for public colleges and universities to a performance-based model based on graduation rates and postgraduate outcomes.
- UALR Public Radio reports that the bill is an extension of years of lobbying from Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has pledged an extra $10 million in funding for schools if the bill passes the full vote of the state legislature.
- Skeptics of the legislation say that the model, which has been enacted in states like Tennessee, Florida and Ohio, could push smaller schools with lower resources and open access missions to see dramatic funding cuts.
There are few states where performance-based funding has been enacted where bigger schools with more resources for scholarships and higher admissions standards do not reap the benefits of the system. While many formulas nationwide also call for increased access for low-income and minority students, percentage increases do not always tell the story of providing greater opportunities to vulnerable student populations.
Institutions of all sizes must invest in the research to explain the future of performance-based funding models. How will enrollment be impacted, and how will those changes affect economic impact for communities surrounding schools? How will research be diminished or increased with a dramatic influx or reduction of students? Ultimately, it is up to college executives to educate lawmakers on the long-term impact of legislative decisions, beyond reporting to voters their efforts to save taxpayers money.