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IHL Revamps Allocation Model

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 18 Apr 2013 02:19pm | comments

Mississippi is changing how to divides up higher education spending between its eight public colleges and universities for the first time in two decades. The board of the Institutions of Higher Learning approved the change Thursday morning.

 The board approved a new formula that is intended to be based on factors like student performance, cost of courses and student body make up to determine how state spending on higher education will be split.

Since the 1990's colleges have received a fixed percentage of the spending, but the formula never adjusted to reflect changes in enrollment.

 Higher education commissioner Hank Bounds says that led to funding disparities between the schools.

"Lets assume that we had 10 universities back in the early 90's. And they all had 10 percent of the population, so they all received 10 percent of the dollars. Well fast forward today, We have ten universities. Some universities have 15 percent of the population. Some had 5. But they all received 10 percent of the money. So functionally that is how it worked," said Bounds.

 Three schools, the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Valley State, and Delta State, will all see a decline in their share of state spending.

 USM president Rodney Bennett says the change is a wake up call for his university.

 "I think that we understand that this is a call to action for us. I think that we are committed to increasing performance of retention, progression and graduation rates. And I think that the model that we looked at today demonstrates that going forward, that is what the funding is going to be based on. So we are going to rise to that challenge," said Bennett.

 The remaining five schools are expected to see their share increase.

 University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones thinks the change will be positive for all schools.

"This makes it clearer the goals of the board. What the board expects of the universities. A strong focus on performance on academic issues like retention rates and graduation rates, completed courses. This is going to be good for higher education in Mississippi." said Jones.

 While the formula is changing now, the spending reduction or increase will be phased in over time. Meaning no college will see a drastic change in their funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

 

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