With the announcement that Massachusetts community colleges will be funded based on graduation rates and other measures, Hechinger’s Jon Marcus spoke about this national trend on public-radio station WBUR’s Radio Boston program.
The state joins dozens of others in which public higher education competes for dwindling state funding based on outcomes, not just enrollment.
Some states are also imposing penalties for poor performance.
In Massachusetts, the shift is being accompanied by a $20 million—or just under 10 percent—increase in the budget allocation for the 15 community colleges, whose enrollment has ballooned while funding has been relatively flat.
One result is that only about 18 percent of students at the two-year schools receive degrees within even three years, about the same low rate as the national average.
With a lower level of unemployment than most other states, Massachusetts is having trouble filling so-called middle-skills jobs that require associate’s degrees, and businesses have been critical of the community colleges’ record in job training.
The new funding formula will be phased in over three years.