Performance funding changes coming for universities

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state university system’s Board of Governors on Thursday moved forward with a new performance-funding model that will eliminate a “bottom three” provision that each year denies state money to the lowest-performing schools.

The new model, which was given preliminary approval by the board in a meeting at Florida Atlantic University, is in response to a state law directing the university system to develop a “performance-based continuous improvement model focused on outcomes that provides for the equitable distribution of performance funds.”

Under the new model, any university that improves its performance on a series of measures, including graduation rates, salaries of recent graduates, retention of students and student costs, will receive a full share of the state performance funds, which amounted to $265 million this year.

Schools where performance declines over a consecutive two-year period may have their funds withheld until they develop improvement plans subject to review by the board.

Beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year, all the schools would have to score at least a 70 on a 100-point performance scale to qualify for the state performance funds.

In this academic year, Florida A&M University, the University of North Florida and New College of Florida missed out on shares of the $265 million in state funding because they ranked in the bottom three on the performance scale.