USF ranks high once again for performance-based funding

For USF executives at this afternoon’s continuation of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) meeting, the sound of gavels hitting their blocks was worth tens of millions of dollars in new university funding.

In addition to being slated to receive more than $40 million for university construction and development projects, USF is slated to receive approximately $23.6 million from the state in performance-based funding.

Last year, the USF system received $22.2 million from the state in performance-based funding, and this marks the third year in a row USF was ranked second or better among the colleges in the State University System.

“That’s one of the best ways to measure where the university stands in the State University System,” said USF Provost Ralph Wilcox. “USF is ranked number two in the state and is nipping at the heels of number one.”

The BOG annually allocates funding to universities decided by a formula of performance metrics, or ten measurements of success decided by the BOG and individual universities, which is designed to give more funding to higher performing schools.

The BOG approved this performance model in January of 2014 and finalized in November of last year.

If a university performs well enough compared to the other schools in the State University System, it will receive the money it invested, as well as additional funding from the state. If it does not perform well enough, the money it invested will be disbursed to other universities.

Among other metrics, this year USF ranked high with its 75 percent of graduates either employed or continuing their education, a median average wage of $35,200 for graduates within one-year of graduation, an average degree cost of $25,490 and a six-year graduation rate of 66 percent.

Mark Walsh, USF assistant vice president for government relations, said USF’s consistent high ranking may also change the amount of money it receives in future years.

“With (high rankings) comes a lot of new money,” Walsh said. “The state is changing the dynamic of how they want to provide funds to universities. They want to make it a performance-based system, and if we improve on those metrics, they will continue to invest more money.”

Technically, this funding is not final, as the state budget still needs to be finalized on Friday before going to Gov. Rick Scott — when specific appropriations could be vetoed. The BOG’s recommended disbursal of funding was placed on the desks of Legislators on Tuesday, and once approved, the funding will be disbursed in July.

“(The funding) is a significant positive 8-figure impact for the University of South Florida,” Walsh said. “We’re proud of our performance and happy to achieve that.”

— Additional reporting by Alex Rosenthal