Schools could see finance hike
Texas public universities may soon have 100 million reasons to make sure students stay in class.
On Thursday, Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Raymund Paredes, in a joint session of the Texas House Select Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education Finance, proposed an increase of $4.8 billion in formula funding for Texas universities and community colleges, $100 million of which would be awarded on the basis of performance, The Daily Texan reported.
Paredes’ proposal departs from the current method of formula funding, which allocates funds based on the number of students enrolled in an institution, enrollment growth and the number of credit hours students attempt. The formula would reward institutions based on the number of credits students complete.
The proposal would mean an 18 percent increase to the state’s higher-education budget, which is below the national average.
The performance-based formula could encourage students to finish degree plans more efficiently in a state where the average student pays significantly more than the national average to complete a degree. Although Paredes said this proposal is necessary to keep Texas colleges nationally competitive, some legislators are wary about opening the wallet.
"We can’t afford to have every area of our budget go up 18 percent," Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, told The Daily Texan. "If we are to go up in this direction we are prioritizing education significantly."
Along with the increased funding, Paredes stressed the role of community colleges.
"National average for tuition and fees at community colleges is about $2,700, and in Texas it is only about $1,600. To maintain this, however, adequate funding is critical," Paredes said in his August proposal to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.
If accepted the proposal will take effect during the 2010-2011 school year.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes proposed a $4.8 billion increase in formula funding for Texas state universities and community colleges that would:
-Provide $100 million in performance-based funding for universities, where funds would be based on the number of degrees and certificates awarded.
-Grant $45 million for alternative teacher certification programs at community colleges to combat teacher shortages.
Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board