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Proposal would alter Georgia college funding

 Public colleges and universities across the state may feel a pinch in their pocketbooks—or a possible raise—related not to sheer student numbers, but their levels of student achievement.
On Monday, a plan was proposed that would alter the way that Georgia colleges and universities receive state funding.

 Currently, funding is distributed in relation to a school’s enrollment and student credit hours, but the new proposal would tie funding to the school’s graduation rate starting in fiscal year 2015.
 “The current funding formula was put in place in 1981-82; much has changed over the past 30 years,” John Milsaps, the University System of Georgia spokesperson, said. “The Governor has a great group at work on the funding formula.”

 The plan has yet to be finalized, but the proposing committee, the Higher Education Funding Commission (HEFC) has until the end of the year to work on it.

 The proposal comes as part of a larger program. Complete College Georgia (CCG) was launched as a joint project between Gov. Nathan Deal, the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) in August of 2011.

 Upon launch the program had six goals. According to an HEFC presentation, these were to “develop comprehensive system-wide and campus-level completion plans, restructure select Technical College programs to better support working students, increase Course Articulation to build a seamless education system, improve remediation, create a needs-based college scholarship program, and to form the Higher Education Finance Commission.”

 Progress has been made on most of these goals.

According to the same HEFC presentation, “components of the formulas are based on outdated cost information, historical appropriations, and tuition policy that no longer reflects reality.”

 The HEFC provided three reasons why the proposed plan is better than the current model.   According to its presentation, “the current model incentivizes enrollment growth rather than excellence or productivity, outcomes based funding offers an opportunity to prioritize multiple measures of success, and outcomes based funding allows for flexibility to accommodate future shifts in mission and state goals.”

According to Milsaps, the USG has been receptive of the HEFC’s plans so far.

 “The University System is completely supportive of the Governor’s “Complete College Georgia” initiative, which seeks to increase Georgia’s college completion rates,” he said. “The funding formula commission’s work certainly supports college completion work and the Chancellor and his staff are fully engaged with the commission’s efforts. We are grateful for the work being done and we look forward to seeing the recommendations.”


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