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Georgia Higher Education Report Urges Formula Restructuring

by Kelly Petty, published

Auditorium University Building by  Marcelina L Martin via Auditorium University Building by Marcelina L Martin via

A report released by Georgia’s Higher Education Funding Commission urges restructuring the state’s budget formula to create more college funding opportunities to build the workforce, Governor Nathan Deal’s office announced. Tweet at @GovernorDeal: Tweet

The advisory panel, formed by the governor back in 2011, recommended ways the state could incentivize higher education for Georgia’s traditional and non-traditional student population.

“The current higher education funding formulas emphasize enrollment with little to no focus on ensuring that students are successful after they get there,” Gov. Deal said in statement. “The recommendations of the Higher Education Funding Commission are a good starting point toward emphasizing outcomes and are a strong addition to our state’s work on increasing college access, retention and completion.”

The report comes on the heels of a study done last year by Georgetown University that found Georgia would need to increase its post-secondary degree population from 42 percent to 60 percent over the next eight years to meet projected workforce needs. Gov. Deal looks to increase the number of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher by 250,000 to fulfill future needs. Tweet the news: Tweet

The commission looked at ways to reward colleges and universities with increased funds as students move through college toward degree completion. Using factors such as the number of students hitting benchmarks for critical-hours earned, as well as “sector-performance” — weighting differences between certificate and bachelor’s degree attainment for example — would allow Georgia to shift funding between the state’s colleges, universities, and technical schools to best target that particular institutions student population.

For example, the new formula would take into account that since technical schools may produce more certificate completions than regional universities, those institutions should hold higher weight in receiving more funds to supplement certificate-seeking students. This same idea would also be applied to measuring funding between different types of institutions.

The commission ultimately recommended that student progression and the types of degrees conferred should hold higher weight in determining state funding allocation versus student enrollment. They also believe that Pell Grant recipients and adult learners should be incentivized into future formulas.

More importantly, the commission recommends that faculty salaries, health insurance costs and benefits, as well as maintenance and operation costs all should be factored into the formula to provide better across-the-board funding for state educational institutions. Tweet at @CompleteCollege: Tweet

“Governor Deal makes it clear that Georgia taxpayers expect results from their higher education investments: more student success, more college graduates, and a better prepared workforce to attract high-paying jobs,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America, Gov. Deal’s higher education initiative. “The commission’s approach is well designed and will serve as a national model for other states to follow.”

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