Outcomes-based funding a failed education legacy

May 08, 2015 / Phil Lesch

Statesman Journal
April 29th, 2015

In the post-Kitzhaber era, one may be surprised to learn that a controversial vestige of the disgraced leader's vision has just been enacted.

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (or HECC), which has oversight of post-secondary institutions in Oregon, has marched ahead with its planned adoption of a new degree-rewarding funding plan.

Will HECC's decision to adopt a formula that pays universities and community colleges for the number of degrees it produces actually improve the state's college graduation rates?

Student enrollment has traditionally driven state support for public higher education. Now, however, this new "outcomes-based" funding model will replace the old system, in an effort to boost graduation rates.

HECC admits that outcomes-based funding forces Oregon's seven public universities to compete with one another over limited resources. And, even though the commission acknowledges that this model is "suboptimal," it plans to push forward with the proposal anyway.

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