Texas Advances Performance-Based Funding Bill

Late last week, the Texas Senate approved legislation that would require public colleges to meet a set of performance standards in order to increase tuition rates beyond the rate of inflation, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The 11 performance requirements in the proposed legislation include measures of graduation rates, student completion milestones, the number of degrees earned by at-risk students, and the institution's administrative costs.

The bill would also limit tuition hikes – to no more than the inflation rate plus 1 percent – until the new restrictions take effect in the 2018-19 academic year. At that time, institutions that meet the targets would be allowed to raise tuition by inflation plus 3 percent.

Tuition rates in Texas have soared since 2003, when lawmakers deregulated tuition to help offset deep reductions in state funding. Legislators turned over their authority to set rates to university governing boards, giving those panels the power to set tuition to whatever levels they felt was necessary. Since then, tuition and fees have jumped as much as 85 percent at some schools, according to higher education officials.

"The cost of college education has skyrocketed to where students are being priced out of higher education altogether or required to take out exorbitant student loans to finance their education," said State Senator Charles Schwertner, a Republican.

Performance-based funding formulas, while controversial, are becoming more popular among state legislatures, according to Inside Higher Ed. The bill in Texas, which now goes to the state House for consideration, will likely draw national attention.


Related Links

The Dallas Morning News


Inside Higher Ed