Iowa regent task force mulls performance funding for universities

Members hope to have recommendation by June

Vanessa Miller
Published: December 17 2013 | 4:30 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:59 am in
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A task force charged with reviewing how to best allocate state funding to Iowa’s regent universities – including the option of basing funding on performance – met for a second time Tuesday.

The “performance-based revenue model task force,” as charged by the Iowa Board of Regents, convened for the first time in October and again this week to discuss how state money is awarded to universities and to review possible performance metrics.

The task force, which is chaired by former regent David Miles, will continue meeting into next year in hopes of making recommendations in June to the Board of Regents, which oversees the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

Tuesday’s discussion looked broadly at performance funding and then at Iowa’s demographics and student debt and how those issues interplay with the notion of performance-based funding.

Matt Pellish, director of strategic research of the Education Advisory Board, gave a presentation on the research his group has done on performance-based funding across the country. He said half the country is piloting success-based funding models for public universities and more are planning to do so.

David J. Peters, ISU assistant professor of sociology, talked about Iowa’s demographics, and Tahira Hira, ISU professor in human development and family studies, talked about student debt.

Art Hauptman, a Virginia-based public policy consultant, led the group’s first discussion in October and said that an allocation formula sends a message to institutions on where and how to spend the money it receives, according to ISU news services.

Board of Regents staff member Patrice Sayre has said little has changed in Iowa since 1946 in how it allocates “general university” funds, according to ISU news.

In the current budget year, the UI received about $222 million in its “general university” allocation, ISU received about $174 million and UNI received about $83 million.

Upon forming the task force last year, former Board of Regents President Craig Lang charged it with reviewing the current allocation formula and finding a “set of measurements that may help rebalance the equation and link dollars more directly to priorities,” according to ISU news.

Other task force members include: Board of Regents President Pro-Tem Katie Mulholland, Len Hadley, retired CEO of the Maytag Corporation, Cara Heiden, retired co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Mark Oman, retired senior executive vice president of Wells Fargo and Company.

The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 21.

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