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Task force recommends new funding model

BY IAN MURPHY | MAY 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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The way the state Board of Regents’ institutions are funded could be shaken up after 70 years of following the same model.

Former Regent President David Miles, the head of the four-person Performance Based Revenue Model Task Force, said the committee’s recommendations on performance-based funding will be presented to the regents on June 4.

The committee will recommend a more competitive model of funding, basing 60 percent of state allocation on enrollment of Iowa residents and 40 percent on educational outcomes of the universities, Miles said.

“Five years ago, if you were educating 10,000 Iowa students, and now you’re only educating 5,000, should you be getting the same amount of money? I don’t think so,” he said.

Miles said the new model will better “reflect what’s going on in the state,” allocating more money to universities that enroll more Iowa students while motivating the other universities to attract those students.

The recommendations would be put in place over two to four years if approved by the regents.

The University of Iowa had 11,109 full-time undergraduate resident students — 54.1 percent — enrolled in the spring of 2014, according to the UI Registrar’s Office. Five years ago, 63 percent of the undergraduate students were Iowa residents.

This past fall, the University of Northern Iowa had 9,411 resident students, compared with the UI’s 10,430. Iowa State University had 18,009 undergraduate resident students.

Currently, both the UI and ISU receive 42 percent of the allocated funding, while the UNI receives 16 percent of the state dollars.

The UI currently enrolls large numbers of nonresident and international students.

But Joe Brennan, the UI vice president for Strategic Communication, said it is too early to tell whether the UI will change any policies regarding student recruitment. This semester, there are 9,439 nonresident students at the UI in addition to 3,712 international students.

“Let’s get through the process, and then we’ll look at it,” Brennan said. “The best thing to do would be to let the board look at it and adapt as we need too.”

Brennan said the UI will evaluate based on what the regents decide to do.

The old model allocated a certain amount of funds to each university, which was increased annually by the Legislature.

“It hasn’t worked well over the years to just go to the Legislature and say, ‘You gave us this much last year, how about 3 percent more this year,’ ” Miles said.

He said the new model will stress the enrollment of Iowa students to encourage universities to get Iowans to stay in the state for education and for work afterward.

“We’d like all students to stay in the state when they graduate,” Miles said.

The remaining 40 percent of funding will be decided based on five categories. Five percent of the allocations will be based on student progression, 10 percent on graduation rates, 10 percent on access to minorities, veterans, community-college transfers, and low-income students, 5 percent on job placement, and 10 percent will be customized requirements set by the regents.

“We think this is a better way of budgeting,” he said. “I am very excited about what this means for Iowans.”

Regent President Bruce Rastetter said he is excited about the committee’s work.

“I think that the variety of the components are very good,” he said.

Rastetter said the committee took nine months to come up with the recommendations for the more competitive model of funding. He said the way funding has been allocated in the state has not been changed in 70 years.

Both Rastetter and Miles said if approved, the recommendations would be phased in to ensure that the universities are still funded fairly.

“We’d want to take time to make sure it wouldn’t benefit one [school] more than the other,” Rastetter said.


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