Senators endorse Missouri higher education funding formula

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | 9:00 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri senators gave first-round approval Wednesday to a proposed state higher-education funding formula that would tie some state funding for public colleges and universities to performance goals and career placement.

Under the Senate legislation, 10 percent of what the legislature appropriates to colleges and universities would be tied to whether a school meets performance goals. Institutions meeting all five targets would get the full amount while those meeting at least one would get a portion. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education and each school would collaborate on developing their performance measures by July 2014, and they would be updated every five years.

Another 10 percent of funding would be linked to career placement. The Department of Higher Education would develop a system to track career placement rates. It also would account for students accepted into graduate schools, professional schools and four-year institutions. The rules would be developed by July 2014.

The current approach for higher education allots money based largely upon how much colleges and universities received in the past and how much Missouri has available for the future. A state law requires development of a funding formula for higher education institutions that is similar to what exists for public K-12 education in Missouri.

Senators added the career placement portion into the formula during their debate Wednesday. Supporters said they want higher education institutions working to ensure graduates are getting jobs.

Senators gave the funding formula legislation initial approval by voice-vote Wednesday, and it needs another round of approval before moving to the House. The legislature has until May 17 to pass new bills.

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