Study finds wide variation in performance-based funding programs in 35 US states

February 17, 2015

A new report funded by the Gates Foundation looks at performance-based fundingfor public colleges and universities in 35 US states. The report says that there is significant variation between states; however, discussions of performance-based funding often treat it as a homogenous category. To move beyond this under-nuanced understanding, the report identifies 4 categories of performance-based funding, organized around their levels of "sophistication and adherence to promising practices." Only 2 states, Tennessee and Ohio, have models that are considered by the authors to be "advanced." The report found a number of benefits associated with performance-based funding, including increased use of data to make decisions; increased funding dedicated to instruction; and improved student services, policies, and practices. However, researchers also identified a number of "unintended consequences," including high compliance costs for data collection, reduced academic standards, a reduced emphasis on an institutional missions, increased admission standards, and an inhibited faculty voice. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report