University of Florida at top of class for performance funding

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 17:13:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--  The University of Florida finished first among the 11 universities eligible for state performance funding in the upcoming budget year, garnering $55 million of the $245 million total.

UF netted $7 million in new performance funding, up from $48 million in the current year, in a list approved Thursday by the state university system's Board of Governors, which was meeting at the University of South Florida.

The annual list is based on 10 measurements of performance by each of the institutions, including a six-year graduation rate, salaries of recent graduates, retention of students and student costs. Florida Polytechnic University, the state's newest school, is not eligible yet.

While UF was at the top, dramatic performance funding shifts, both positive and negative, impacted a half-dozen other schools.

“In the past four years, we've seen steady improvements at the system level and for individual universities,” said Tom Kuntz, chairman of Board of Governors. “Especially exciting is that we've seen universities in the bottom three soar to the top of the pack as they've renewed their focus on student success.”

The University of South Florida, ranked second on the list, netted $13 million in new performance funding, for a total of $45.4 million in state funding.

The University of West Florida, which received no state performance funding during the current year because it finished among the three lowest-performing schools, had the largest positive change, netting $21 million in state funding after finishing third on the new list.

The Pensacola-based school, which finished second to last on the prior list, earned the $21 million in part by also qualifying for bonus performance money awarded to the top three schools.

University of West Florida President Martha Saunders said the performance ranking for her school was “a testimony to the hard work of the entire campus over the past few years.”

“The additional funding will go a long way toward supporting the success of our students,” she said.

UWF's rise on the list was aided by significant improvements in three key categories, including a measure of students returning for a second year with at least a 2.0 grade point average. The school's retention rate rose by more than 5 percent, although its 70 percent average remains lowest in the state system, well below the average of 86 percent.

New College of Florida qualified for the first time for state performance funding since the current model was put in place in the 2014-15 academic year, earning an additional $2.5 million.

Florida A&M University had the largest decrease in state performance funding. After earning $11.5 million this year, the school, which finished 10th on the list, will receive no state performance money in the budget year that begins July 1.

Larry Robinson, interim president for FAMU, said the school would be implementing a major plan in the coming year to improve student recruitment, advising services and other academic support programs, which will result in higher rankings in the coming years.

“Although we have made some improvements, I am not satisfied with the university's performance,” Robinson said Thursday. “We have developed an aggressive and focused plan for improving on all aspects of the state's performance metrics.”

Florida Gulf Coast University, which earned $8 million in state performance funding this year, also fell into the bottom three, ranking ninth, and will not receive state performance funds.

The University of North Florida, which did not qualify for state performance funding this year, ranked 11th on the list and will not receive money.

Florida Atlantic University, which tied for first on the 2016 list, will see a $6 million reduction in state performance funding after dropping to seventh on the new allocation list. It will receive a total of $19.4 million in state funds in the new year.

Florida State University, which finished fourth, will see a net increase of $3 million, with a total of $38.5 million in state performance funds in the new year.

The University of Central Florida finished fifth on the list, earning $36 million in state performance funding, $3.6 million less than in the current year. Florida International University, ranked eighth on the list, will gain $2 million for a total of $27.5 million in the new year.

All 11 schools also will be able to use their share of $275 million in institutional performance funding.

It works like this: The University of Florida will receive $55 million in state performance funding along with $49 million in institutional funds for a total of $104 million in performance funds for the 2017-18 academic year.

Florida A&M, which will not receive state performance funding, will still have $14 million in institutional performance funds in the new year.

Overall performance funding totals $520 million in the coming year, including the $245 million in state funds, which was increased by $20 million by the 2017 Legislature.

The Board of Governors on Thursday also approved an allocation list for $52 million for state-designated “pre-eminent” and “emerging” pre-eminent schools.

The University of Florida and Florida State University will each receive an additional $17.3 million in the coming year as pre-eminent institutions. The University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida will each receive $8.7 million as emerging pre-eminent schools. USF officials said they expect to reach the pre-eminent level in the coming year.

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