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Kentucky University Funds could be Based on Incentives

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s university presidents are finalizing a plan that would create a way to tie some of their schools’ state funding to performance outcomes such as higher graduation rates and more degrees in science and technology.

The university presidents held their final meeting Monday at the Council on Postsecondary Education, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. They hope to present a new plan to Gov. Matt Bevin and the General Assembly by the Friday deadline.

The plan would divide up the $49 million Bevin appropriated to outcomes in the next fiscal year.

“My hope is we can present a model with enough merit and consensus that the General Assembly can have confidence that it will work,” said Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell, chairing the task force. “There’s a lot at stake for Kentucky and our institutions, that’s why concerns and emotions have run deep.”

Under one proposal, about 35 percent of funding would be based on student success. Categories would include the number of bachelor’s degrees produced, the number of science technology, engineering, math and health degrees produced and the number of degrees earned by underrepresented minorities and low-income students.

Eventually, schools would compete with each other for that funding, based on their rates of improvement. More than 30 states already have performance funding as part of their funding, but those have always been added with new money, not base funding.

The universities are currently funded based largely on what they received the year before.

Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper said the governor appreciated the task force’s work and is looking forward to seeing the final report.

“This will create very positive mindsets among the universities,” said Republican Sen. David Givens of Greensburg, who served on the task force and will be involved in drafting any legislation that emerges. “I’m happy with the effort and I feel like I’ll be happy with the product.”


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