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Performance could alter universities’ funding

University of Central Florida

Lawmakers will consider a plan this spring that would fund the state’s 12 universities based in part on performance, a move that could see some universities lose money and others gain it.

The new model would divvy up $80 million of the system’s nearly $3.6 billion under Gov. Rick Scott’s spending proposal. And while the idea seems to have widespread support at the Capitol, at least in concept, there are also bipartisan warnings that the devil of the new formula will be in the details.

Under the plan, universities could score up to five points for improvement or “excellence” on each of 10 measurements of performance. Seven of the benchmarks would be shared by all 12 universities, while another would eventually be used by every school except New College.

For example, schools would receive five points if the median income of alumni who live in Florida a year after graduation was at least $40,000. If it was $20,000, they would receive just one point.

Finally, each university would be graded based on a performance measurement unique to that school laid out by the university’s board of trustees and also would be graded on a measurement approved by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the university system and is pushing for the new funding system.

“I believe that these metrics are designed in such a way that every university has the opportunity to make decisions and be successful and to receive the financial recognition that comes with that,” new university system Chancellor Marshall Criser said.

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