Performance Funding Budget Proviso 1997-1999
Like many other states, Washington began considering performance funding in the late 1990s. The governor envisioned a performance reporting or performance budgeting system, but Republican legislators developed this idea into performance funding
For the 1997-1998 academic year, two- and four-year institutions were instructed to develop “implementation plans” for improving specified performance indicators. Metrics for four-year schools included persistence and completion rates, “faculty productivity,” and time to degree efficiency. Metrics for two-year schools included transfer rates, “core” course completion rates, employment outcomes and time to degree efficiency. For the 1998-1999 academic year a small percentage of state appropriations were held back from institutions until they met state-specified goals on their performance measures.
The reaction of the higher education community was decidedly negative. The Higher Education Coordinating Board and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges both recommended that performance funding end after the 1997-1999 biennium. In 1998 Republicans lost control of the state legislature. The incoming Democrats did not have any investment in the performance funding proviso and declined to fund it for the next budget cycle.
Community College Student Achievement Initiative
In 2007 the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges formed a task force that launched the Community College Student Achievement Initiative (SAI). Recent state government actions like the formation of a P-20 Council and the passage of the Government Management Accountability and Performance (GMAP) program lead the State Board to believe that performance funding would come again to higher education, and this time they wanted to have a say in the process.
The funding mechanism is also very different from the withholding system of 1997. SAI rewards institutions with a small amount of additional money based on how many “momentum points” the school has earned. Institutions earn “momentum points” as student progress through the institution: moving from remedial to credit courses, completing 15 credits, completing 30 credits, completion of math credits, degree completion, and more. Points can be banked for the following year if reward funds have run out. The “learning year” was 2008, which was used to measure baselines and develop plans for improvement. The findings of the “learning year” can be found in this report.