Performance-based funding bill for state colleges and universities passes Senate

02/22/2017 09:08 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would fund the state’s postsecondary schools based on the numbers of degrees they confer, students enrolled, credit hours earned among other things was passed by the Kentucky Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Sen. David Givens passed by a 36-1 vote with Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, casting the lone no vote.

The performance-based funding model would be administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education, and would be gradually implemented if it becomes law. Provisions are included that would retain funding levels in fiscal year 2019 and limit any reductions to 1 percent and 2 percent in the following fiscal years, respectively.

SB 153 would split public university funding into three tiers: 35 percent would be based on degrees conferred — with focus on science, technology, engineering and math degrees and those received by low-income and underrepresented minority students — and student progression; 35 percent would be credit hours earned; and 30 percent would support campus operations.

Five percent of universities’ budgets that had been set aside in the biennial budget for a performance-based appropriation.

Givens recognized that some members of the chamber have some concerns about negative effects at some universities, but said there will be a 3-year roll out

“The most volatile component is that 35 percent student success component, but understand that it uses a rolling 3-year rolling average approach,” Givens said. “So, as the institution might excel one year or two years, they may benefit from that gain in the short run, but they’re raising the bar for themselves in the years to come because they’ve raised their own level of attainment.”

Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, voted in favor on the bill despite having some reservations, but said the General Assembly needs to carefully consider devoting more money to postsecondary education to make a meaningful difference.

“Unless the members of the General Assembly stand up in the next budget session and increase funding for postsecondary education, I don’t think this is going to make that positive of a difference,” Jones said. “If you look at the increase in tuition at Kentucky’s public universities, we are seeing students priced out of the market.”

SB153 moves on to the House for consideration.


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