Formula Funding Committee Convenes

The Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding met yesterday for the first of two scheduled meetings before its June report is due. The expected discussion on the $1.1 Billion issue of Special Item appropriations was scheduled for February 27.

The primary issue yesterday involved outcomes (or performance) based funding. The Vice Chair of the Coordinating Board testified that he expects the Board in April to endorse the recommendation of the Formula Funding Advisory Committee, which would reward general academic institutions with $500 per student, and $1,000 per at-risk student, who graduates in four years. Everyone agreed that something significant must occur to meet the goal of 60X30 TX which calls for 60 percent of Texans ages 26-35 to hold some post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2030. One Senator asked if financial incentives or penalties would be more effective in motivating success.

Representatives of community and technical colleges testified that their experience with outcome-based funding has been positive, even though the rates of rewards have been reduced.