Universities Balance Funding with Student Performance

Jan 15, 2013

Illinois' public colleges and universities are still trying to work with a new law that ties state funding to student performance. But it hasn't been easy to measure performance in a way that's equally valid across the state's dozen public university campuses. Illinois' program is specifically meant to reward schools that help low-income students, and those from the first generation in their family to go to college.

Credit NIU Media Services

Allan Karnes is a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He says one area of concern is how expensive it is to go to one school versus another.

"Big schools, big research schools, they hire really expensive professors, because they're the best in the field. Don't we want them to do that?" - Allan Karnes, IBHE

Last year, Illinois set aside just one-half of one-percent of its higher-education budget for performance funding -- about $6 million dollars divided among the dozen campuses. For the new budget year, an advisory committee of the Board of Higher Education is recommending that percentage stay about the same.

*       SIU Administration is allocated on a pro-rated basis to each campus, SIU School of Medicine is included with the Carbondale Campus.

  **       University of Illinois Administration is allocated on a pro-rated basis to each campus.  

How to read the chart: A negative number means a campus lost money over what it normally would have gotten. So, one-half of one-percent of Chicago State University's budget (the "set aside") was $184,251. Applying the performance funding measures, it only got $144,620, which is a loss of $39,631.

Eastern would have gotten $219,984, but with the performance funding metrics, it instead got $270,424, a gain of $50,441. As you can see, most campuses did better than they would have otherwise. Only CSU, SIUC, UIC and UIS did worse. Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.