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House Finance discusses outcomes-based funding for higher education in West Virginia


Charleston Gazette-Mail

(WVU Tech photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Higher Education Policy Commission chancellor Paul Hill updated members of the House Finance Committee Monday on a study to move funding of state colleges and universities to an outcomes-based model.

Under the proposal, 70 percent of funding would be based on credit hours taken, with higher-level courses, and STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) weighted more heavily. Total degrees awarded would account for 25 percent of funding, with student success — measured by several factors, including graduation and retention rates — accounting for 5 percent of the funding formula.

The Legislature mandated that the HEPC study shifting state higher education funding from the current student headcount formula to an outcomes-based formula, with a goal of improving graduation rates, which Hill said range from 54 percent at West Virginia University to the 20-30 percent range for some state institutions.

“We’ve all heard stories about students who go to college, but simply don’t complete their degrees,” he said.

Currently, 23 states have similar outcome-based measures to determine state funding for higher education, Hill said.

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