In 2013 and 2014, the Utah Legislature provided one-time funding allocations to incentivize Utah postsecondary institutions to meet performance metrics that aid degree completion. In January 2015, Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) Board of Regents approved a performance funding model, and in March it received $5 million in ongoing funds from the Utah Legislature to implement performance funding permanently. The approved model includes three system-wide metrics and one to two additional institution-specific metrics selected by each USHE institution:
- Completion as measured by percentage of first-time,
full-time students graduating within 150% of time to degree or certificate.
- Affordability as measured by in-state tuition and
fees for undergraduates.
- Access as measured by percentage of degree-seeking undergraduates with financial need (determined by receipt of Pell grant)
Institution-specific metric options:
- First-to-second year
retention of full-time students
- First-to-second year
retention of part-time students
awarded per full-time student
- With Commissioner approval, Presidents may select an additional metric, provided that metric is “of equivalent rigor, has national data available for comparisons, and furthers the strategic directions of the Board of Regents” (“Board of Regents”).
The objective of performance funding is to incentivize all USHE institutions to rank within the top third of national peer institutions along each metric. Benchmarks will be based on Carnegie classification, with metrics drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Funding will be allocated to institutions based 50% on the percentage of USHE students they graduate and 50% on their share of state tax funding. All performance metrics will be given equal weight, and funds will be awarded based on the percentage of each goal met (“Board of Regents”).
None of the approved metrics are directly related to student learning, civic engagement, or other noneconomic goals of postsecondary education.
“Board of Regents Adopt Performance Funding.” Utah System of Higher Education. 27 Jan 2015. < http://higheredutah.org/board-of-regents-adopt-performance-funding/>. 10 March 2015.