Performance Funding on the Ground: Campus Responses and Perspectives in Two States
Performance funding applies financial incentives to higher education, tying a portion of public institutions’ state appropriations to retention rate, degree completion and other student outcomes.
As of January 2016, 30 states were operating or developing a performance funding policy to encourage public colleges and universities to find ways to increase student retention, including graduation rates of underrepresented populations. To examine the effect of these performance funding policies, the authors of this study conducted interviews with state-level policymakers and officials at four universities in Pennsylvania and Ohio, two states that have long histories of performance funding and that have recently redesigned their policies.
The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 47 state-level policymakers, high-level and mid-level campus administrators, faculty and staff at four universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania (19 respondents in Pennsylvania and 28 in Ohio), including the state-level higher education organization that designed the performance funding policies. Data collection occurred in 2015 and 2016. The interviews ranged in length from 30 to 50 minutes.