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Higher Ed Funding in AZ, NM Focuses on Outcomes, Increasing STEM Grads

January 18, 2012

With a sharp decline in state funding available for higher education over the past several years, performance- and outcome-based funding has garnered a great deal of attention in several states seeking to maximize education funds and support economic growth. Governors in Arizona and New Mexico recently proposed significant reforms in higher education funding so that universities with greater R&D expenditures and those that graduate more students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields would receive a bigger share of state funds. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's funding plan for higher education builds on a formula recommendation published last year by the Board of Regents that includes increases in degrees, credit hours and outside research and public service funding. Gov. Brewer recommends moving to the Board of Regents $15 million of the universities' base funding, which would be allocated using each university's share of total general fund support. The state would match the $15 million, for a total $30 million to be allocated by the Board of Regents to the universities based on an agreed-upon funding formula. The governor plans to work with the legislature and the universities in the coming months to determine a performance-funding formula. Her recommendations include incentivizing greater production of in-demand degrees specifically in the STEM fields. The governor also would expand community college and university partnership programs and increase graduation rates. The executive budget recommends $706.8 million for the University System in FY13, up from $682.5 million last year. Budget documents are available at: http://www.ospb.state.az.us/documents/2012/FY2013-ExecutiveBudget-Agency.... New Mexico Colleges and universities that increase the number of graduates qualified to fill new economy jobs in fields such as science, technology, engineering, health care and mathematics (STEHM) would be rewarded with more state funding under Gov. Susana Martinez's new formula. The governor wants to change the state's current formula, which funds higher education institutions based on size, courses and degree programs started to one that awards funding based on courses and degree programs completed. Although many details of the proposal have not been released, Jose Garcia, Secretary of Higher Education, said initially no institution would gain or lose more than 2 percent of its funding, and the ration of funding to the two-year and four-year colleges and universities would remain roughly equal, reports El Defensor Chieftain. Read the governor's press release: http://www.governor.state.nm.us/uploads/PressRelease/191a415014634aa8960...

Arizona, New Mexico