A quantitative analysis of the Texas performance funding model: Impact of institutional and student characteristics

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2014-05

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how institutional and student characteristics may influence the earning of student success points by Texas public community colleges under the new Texas performance funding system that will be fully implemented in the 2016-2017 biennium, which has future funding implications for the state’s public community colleges. Texas has historically funded its community colleges based on an enrollment formula; however, the funding system was revised in 2013 by setting aside 10% of the enrollment-based formula funding appropriations to be earned back through a performance funding system based upon student success points earned.
Research has shown that student characteristics, including age (Calcagno, Crosta, Bailey, & Jenkins, 2007; Offenstein, Moore, & Shulock, 2010), race/ethnicity (Bailey et al., 2006; Paige & Witty, 2010), low-income status (Bowen, Chingos, & McPherson, 2009; Horn & Carroll, 2006), and part-time status students (Chen & Carroll, 2007; Offenstein et al., 2010); as well as institutional characteristics, including institutional size (Bailey et al., 2006; Dougherty & Hong, 2006), the proportion of enrollment in technical programs (Alfonso, Bailey, & Scott, 2005; Bailey, Calcagno, Jenkins, Kienzl, & Leinbach, 2005), and expenditures per student (Bailey et al., 2006; Moosai, Walker, & Floyd, 2011), can impact an institution’s performance on student outcomes measures, such as retention and completion. This quantitative study used a correlation design to examine the relationships between the student outcomes measures within the Texas performance funding system for public community colleges and the institutional and student characteristics named. In addition, the study examined the relationship between the student success points earned under the Texas performance funding system and the three-year graduation rates for the Texas public community colleges. The data examined was previously collected by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and made available to the public through an interactive website tool called the Higher Education Accountability System (THECB, 2013c). Findings from this study showed that although several student and institutional characteristics were significant predictors of the total success points earned under the Texas performance funding system, when the analysis focused on the gains (or losses) in success points between two sets of three-year averages, none of the student or institutional characteristics significantly predicted the change in success points earned by Texas community colleges. Conversely, other findings from the study suggest that larger institutions experiencing enrollment growth will have an advantage over smaller institutions with stable enrollment patterns under the Texas performance funding system, since increases in enrollment are strongly correlated with increases in success points earned. Moreover, smaller institutions have, on average, higher graduation rates, yet nothing in the Texas performance funding system rewards institutions for higher performance on graduation rates. It is intended that the results of this study will inform state policymakers and provide valuable information that can be used to refine the Texas performance funding system.

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Keywords

Performance funding, Higher education, Student success, Community colleges, Graduation rates, Retention rates

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