The Commissioner of Higher Education and the Coordinating Board have launched a media initiative to put forth their "Outcomes-Based Funding Model" for community and technical colleges. The proposals will require legislative action. Of chief interest to two-year college educators is the potential use of ten percent of formula funding to reward schools for student advancement along several thresholds—characterized previously as "Momentum Points."
The announcement is consistent with previous reports here, but contains more emphasis on cost-cutting as the chief objective. Students who fail to complete coursework at community and technical colleges cost the state $206 million each biennium, according to the Coordinating Board.
From the Board's Web site:
Today, only 30.4 percent of Texas community and technical college (CTC) students graduate with a degree or certificate within six years. The cost of students who enroll but do not complete a CTC program is significant not only for the state, but also students. The average loan debt of non-completers for a six-year period was $6,700. These students also accounted for more than $506 million in lost financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and other awards subsidized by the state and federal government.
Commissioner Raymund Paredes told the Austin American-Statesman, "We want to reinvent public higher education—reinvent it in a more cost-efficient way and reinvent it in a way that gives better academic results," said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. "And we think that we can do that. I'm sure we'll need more financial resources over time, but not nearly as much as we would need if we didn't change the way we deliver education."
Ten percent of community college funding would be awarded based on developmental courses passed, completion of 15 or 30 semester hours, degrees awarded, certificates granted, college-level math and English course completions, and successful transfers. The commissioner said the percentage could be ramped up later, according to the AAS.
The Texas Association of Community Colleges has endorsed the "Momentum Points," but recommends that any performance funding be supplemental to the formula appropriation rather than part of it.
Faculty members are concerned as well about the potential effect of these proposals upon academic standards. TCCTA will stress these concerns as the Regular Session approaches.
Here's an important link to the official Coordinating Board announcement, which includes some new graphic presentations. Just click on the "Community and Technical College Model" at the site.