State legislature funds higher education through new bill

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill to increase funding for top performing schools across the state through performance-based funding and emerging preeminent research universities. Special to the Oracle

In the constant struggle for university funding, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill on Thursday that will increase state funding for high performing schools while also working to help students.

The bill, coined a “wide-ranging education bill” by Fox 13, solidifies the concept of performance-based funding. The program looks at metrics such as graduation rates and enrollment in areas of strategic interest in order to allocate funding to each university.

“The model requires a level of accountability designed to make the state university system stronger,” Adam Freeman, Media/Public Affairs Manager, said in an email to the Oracle. “The strategic investments of state leaders will provide USF with resources to support its commitment to preparing graduates to meet the needs of a high-skilled, highly paid workforce in Florida.”

Also, additional funding for universities comes from the preeminent research classification, which USF is approaching along with the University of Central Florida. Currently, only two schools in the state are classified as preeminent; Florida State University and the University of Florida.

USF currently meets the qualifications to be an emerging preeminent state research university.

“Meeting six of the 12 required benchmarks, USF is proud to qualify for this designation and become eligible for the associated additional state investments,” Freeman said in an email to the Oracle.

While official designation as emerging preeminent requires approval by the Board of Governors, the university plans to seek this title and the corresponding $5 million in additional state funding. 

“We are grateful for the legislature and Governor’s continued investments in the state university system of Florida, and especially for the support of its world-class research universities through the preeminence program,” USF system President Judy Genshaft said in a press release.