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The official blog of @SCHEVResearch at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Discussions about our work, national higher education data policy, and highlights about the data we publish.

 

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Pell and Performance Funding

by Tod Massa 8. April 2016 22:32

On Monday of this week, InsideHigherEd published this piece, Gaming the Formula, which was followed Wednesday in the Chronicle with an interview with Robert Kelchen, one of the author's of cited study. Essentially, Kelchen and Stedrak, both of Seton Hall University, determined that there is statistical evidence that colleges subject to performance-based funding may be enrolling fewer Pell-eligible students in order to boost their graduation rates. (As we know from SCHEV's published reports, Pell students do tend to have lower graduation rates.)

From InsideHigherEd:

The analysis drew data from multiple sources, including federal databases, to track institutional finance patterns over the decade ending in 2013. It examined public four-year institutions and community colleges across the nation, with a sample of 1,649 public colleges. (Many public technical colleges that grant certificates were excluded.)

Overall, colleges subject to performance funding received $30-40 less in federal Pell revenue per full-time student, said Kelchen, a dip of up to 2 percent across all students. The revenue gap applied both to community colleges and four-year institutions.

 

“These results suggest that public colleges that face at least some funding being tied to outcomes do change their expenditure patterns and potentially even the composition of their student body,” the paper said.

Virginia does not have a significant performance-based budgeting system. We do have the financial incentives associated with the success certification of meeting the Institutional Performance Standards (IPS), but as a percentage of total funding these incentives are quite small. However, each iteration of the IPS has had some measure with a focus on Pell students whether directly or as part of a composite measure. This is not surprising as the measures have their origin in the Commonwealth's goals for higher education established in 2005 has part of the higher education restructuring act. Goal number one is about "access and affordability" and as many wonks said at the time "It's not the first goal just because these begin with 'A'."

Of course, when I read these articles I wondered about Virginia. We have had a busy week with other things going on, so the new report isn't quite done yet. It should be published next week. Until then, what I can say that there does not seem to be a problem when we look over 20 years of annual data, at least at the sector level. I don't see anything that can't be explained by changes in enrollment patterns due to a variety of factors beyond an institution's control. 


 

Public Two-Years

Public Four-Years

Private Four-Years

acadyear

# Pell Stus.

Avg. Pell$/FT Stu.

# Pell Stus.

Avg. Pell$/FT Stu.

# Pell Stus.

Avg. Pell$/FT Stu.

1993-94

    26,068

   888

22,458

 339

    8,791

    401

1994-95

    26,322

   907

23,823

  362

    8,732

    397

1995-96

    24,661

   880

24,435

  370

    9,062

    409

1996-97

    25,428

   954

25,919

  402

    9,240

    433

1997-98

    27,047

1,040

26,684

  435

    9,515

    470

1998-99

    28,343

1,152

27,352

  487

    9,580

    516

1999-00

    27,338

1,090

25,756

  459

    9,369

    548

2000-01

    28,396

1,181

24,881

  476

    8,569

    529

2001-02

    32,053

1,401

25,950

  540

   10,160

    699

2002-03

    34,739

1,512

26,809

  568

   11,288

    749

2003-04

    35,659

1,504

27,191

  577

   12,916

    893

2004-05

    35,258

1,491

27,100

  568

   13,692

    831

2005-06

    32,855

1,341

25,491

  519

   13,404

    766

2006-07

    33,105

1,318

25,128

  509

   13,949

    782

2007-08

    37,618

1,498

27,021

  573

   16,540

    932

2008-09

    42,669

1,808

28,098

  660

   17,815

 1,109

2009-10

    61,565

2,645

36,178

  983

   26,996

 1,765

2010-11

    74,271

3,145

42,575

1,145

   34,457

 2,108

2011-12

    81,262

3,412

44,229

1,174

   41,280

 2,321

2012-13

    79,919

3,500

44,153

1,171

   42,986

 2,358

2013-14

    79,208

3,570

44,378

1,186

   42,767

 2,353

2014-15

    76,344

3,644

44,860

1,208

   43,266

 2,383


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