State Takes Step Toward Changing College Funding Formula

Dec 13, 2012

Georgia could soon change the way it funds public colleges and universities.

A commission appointed by Governor Nathan Deal recommended a new funding formula this week.

According to Complete College America, by the year 2020, 60% of jobs in Georgia will require some type of post-secondary degree. But, the organization says, currently just over 40% of Georgians have one. Kristin Bernhardt, the governor’s education policy adviser, says to boost that number, the state’s college funding formula has to change.

“Right now the formula rewards enrollment," she says, "It says, ‘When we take a count of how many students show up for classes, that is what we prioritize and what we’re going to spend taxpayer dollars on.’”

The new formula would link funding to results, such as the number of degrees or certificates students earn and successful student transfers within the state.   Bernhardt says the plan also accounts for the fact that schools face different challenges.

“We’re going to run one set of metrics for our research universities, one set for our two-year and states, etcetera, so that we’ll be able to better define, ‘Where are those most important outcomes?” Bernhardt explains.

The funding overhaul is part of the Complete College Georgia initiative the governor has adopted. Governor Deal does not need legislative approval to move ahead with the plan. However, Bernhardt says it wouldn't fully take effect until the 2016 fiscal year.