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Study to Examine Performance-Based Financial Rewards for State Colleges

Many states tie a portion of funding of higher education institutions directly to those institutions' performance in retaining students, student learning, graduation, job placement and other indicators. One of the great puzzles about such performance funding, however, is that it has proved both popular and unstable. Between 1979 and 2007, 10 of the 25 states that enacted performance funding subsequently dropped it. Moreover the states that have retained performance funding often have sharply cut the level of that funding and substantially changed the means of allocating it.


Kevin Dougherty, Associate Professor of Higher Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Senior Researcher at the College's Community College Research Center, has received a two-year grant of nearly $500,000 from Lumina Foundation for Education to study state performance funding systems for higher education. Dougherty will investigate which design features, strategies for policy enactment and implementation, and socio-political circumstances make states more likely to adopt and retain performance funding systems for higher education and to make smaller changes in funding levels and formulas for those systems.

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