Funding for Success in Texas

Texas community colleges may soon take advantage of (or suffer from) a new funding formula that favors graduation rates. According to a piece by Karissa Rodriguez in The Accent, the student newspaper of Austin community colleges:

Student success rates at Texas community colleges will determine how much state funding colleges will receive under a new plan proposed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

The Board is recommending to the state Legislature to partially base public, two-year colleges’ state funding on Momentum Points (or milestones) of student progression toward completion of a certificate or degree, or upon transfer to a four-year institution.

Community colleges will get more money with successfully accumulation of these “momentum points” and less if many students seem to drop out.

Currently Texas community college funding is based only on the number of students enrolled. If the Texas legislature agrees, 10 percent of state funding will derive from “momentum points.”

Some community colleges object to the new funding formula. According to the article,

“…The challenge with that is when you start paying for grades, it can be very difficult to maintain standards, especially in the difficult financial environment that we’re in right now,” explained [Texas Community College Teacher Association Executive Director Richard] Moore referring to the budget cuts proposal to higher education agencies.

Of course, as the head of the professional association representing Texas community college instructors, it’s people like Moore who might be responsible for making sure that community colleges maintain their standards, such as they are.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer