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College Performance Money To Be Divvied Up

University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Twenty-two of Florida's 28 state colleges will receive shares of $30 million in state performance funding under a new rule approved Monday by the Board of Education.

Six colleges will not receive any state performance funding. But they, along with the other 22 schools, will be able to use their shares of $30 million of what is known as “institutional” performance funding in the 2017-18 academic year.

In performance funding, money is distributed to colleges based on measurements, including awarding degrees and certificates, retaining students, job placement and salaries for graduates.

Madeline Pumariega, chancellor for the state college system, said the good news was that none of the colleges fell into the lowest category of “purple” in the ranking system, which would mean the schools would not be able to use their institutional performance money or qualify for state performance funds.

The institutional money is available on the local level, but it can only be tapped if the colleges meet performance criteria.

Six schools will fall into the “bronze” category, meaning they will able to access their institutional funds but not receive any additional state money.

The 15 “silver” schools will receive institutional funding as well as shares of the $30 million in state performance money.

The seven “gold” schools will receive institutional and state performance funding, including the state funding that would have gone to the bronze schools.

Pumariega said the Division of State Colleges will release a list allocating performance dollars to the colleges in the near future based on the rule approved by the Board of Education. Among other changes, the revised rule increased the weighting for job placement and salaries of college graduates.

The performance funding will help some colleges at least partially deal with a new state budget that included a $25 million reduction for the state college system. Embedded in the cuts was a $30 million cut in remedial education funding.

“We're a little bit disappointed with the budget outcome,” Thomas Lobasso, president of Daytona State College, told the Board of Education during a workshop on the development of next year's state education budget.

But Lobasso's comment drew a rebuttal from Tom Grady, a Board of Education member, who said he was “disappointed” in the college president's remarks.

Grady said state colleges will be helped by the performance funding as well as a dramatic increase in need-based financial aid from the state as well as the expansion of federal Pell grants to summer classes.

“All in all a perfectly rich, robust year for state colleges, it seems to me, yet you are disappointed,” Grady said.

Lobasso and Pumariega said the $30 million in state performance money was the same amount that the colleges received in the prior year, while state universities received a major boost in overall funding as well as performance funding.

While state colleges will receive a total of $60 million in performance funding, including $30 million in state funds, the universities will receive $520 million in performance funding, including $245 million in state funds, which represents a $20 million increase over the previous year.

“The colleges compete, 28 of them, for $30 million (in state funding),” Pumariega said, noting it was one-time money. “So they cannot count on that money next year. They compete for it each year.”

Responding to another Grady question, Lobasso, who is the chairman of the state colleges' council of presidents, said he was pleased by Gov. Rick Scott's decision to veto a bill (SB 374) that would have capped enrollment for baccalaureate students at state colleges and would have created a new oversight board for the system.

“We certainly appreciate the governor's support of our system,” Lobasso said

The News Service of Florida is a wire service to which WUFT News subscribes.