La. Higher Ed Board Looking at Ways to Restructure State College Spending

BATON ROUGE La.

Plans proposed by the state’s higher education governing board to restructure public college funding in Louisiana to reward schools based on their performance rather than enrollment would cost the state about $35 million more annually.

The existing formula does little to factor in graduation rates, research success and other performance measures, and the Louisiana Board of Regents is working on ways to rework it.

Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal supports a revamped higher education funding formula that looks at performance incentives, though he said it is too soon to discuss how the dollars would be restructured.

“With the (current) formula, you tend to give awards for quantity over quality,” Jindal said. “As governor, I’m going to encourage an even greater shift.”

The changes would require approval from lawmakers, who craft the state’s annual budget each year.

“We don’t deliver higher education services very efficiently in this state,” said Rep. Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown, a top candidate to become speaker of the House when the new terms begin in January. “As far as the Legislature is concerned, I think we’re ready to look at it.”

After a large boost in college spending from lawmakers this year, state Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie said the focus is shifting to better-rewarding good graduation rates, the number of degrees awarded, first-year student retention rates, improved job placement and the ability to attract federal research dollars.

“Institutional behavior is driven by rewards,” Savoie said. “What you pay for is what you get.”

The colleges will ask the governor and Legislature for the funding for restructuring the formula, but also for other increases a total of an estimated $177 million in new money for next year.

Information from: The Advocate



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