The Board of Governors announced university performance funding scores at its meeting on Thursday, celebrating the fourth year in a row of nearly across-the-board improvement. The System boasted year-over-year gains on six of the eight performance metrics that are common to all universities, including the number of students earning degrees in areas of strategic emphasis (such as STEM). The System’s graduation and retention rates have increased by roughly five points each during the same period.
Based on their excellence or improvement on the Board’s metrics, universities are eligible for a share of the $520 million allocated by the governor and Legislature during the 2017 legislative session. The model’s 10 metrics include graduation and retention rates, cost to the student, and success for recent graduates.
“In the past four years, we’ve seen steady improvements at the System level and for individual universities,” said Tom Kuntz, Board of Governors’ chair. “Especially exciting is that we’ve seen universities in the bottom three soar to the top of the pack as they’ve renewed their focus on student success.”
The Board’s newest metric, cost-to-the-student, also pointed to positive outcomes. The average cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is less than $15,000 after financial aid (grants, scholarships, and waivers). Furthermore, University Work Plans, in which institutions lay out their future financial goals, indicate that universities are expected to decrease their prices further in the coming years, cutting the student cost per degree from $14,820 to 14,090 by the 2019-2020 school year.
“Affordability has been a priority for the governor and the Legislature as well as the Board of Governors because it increases student access and relieves student debt,” said Ned Lautenbach, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. “It’s exciting to see the universities turning that goal into a reality.”
New College of Florida will get a share of performance funding dollars this year due to its increase in student retention, average full-time wages of undergraduates employed one year after graduation, the number of students graduating in areas of strategic emphasis, and cost to students.
“New College is thrilled to receive performance funding. The growth plan and these dollars will elevate the College from a top, public institution, to a place among the very best of all U.S. colleges and universities,” said President Donal O’Shea.