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Plans for Performance Funding for Calif.'s 2-Year Colleges

May 9, 2018

The chancellor's office for California's community college system on Tuesday released recommendations for a performance funding formula that Jerry Brown, the state's Democratic governor, proposed in January as part of his last budget plan.

State funds for the 114-college system, which enrolls 2.1 million students, currently are based on enrollment levels. But Brown's proposal means California is likely to join 35 or so other states that link some portion of funding to performance metrics like student completion rates, with a growing number adding weight for colleges' performance with low-income and other underrepresented student groups.

The initial plan called for one-quarter of California's contributions to community college budgets to be linked to student success measures. Another 25 percent of the total allocation would aimed at supports for low-income students who receive state or federal financial aid. The remaining half would be tied to enrollment.

Various working groups and stakeholders, including faculty member organizations, subsequently presented ideas about the formula to Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the system's chancellor. The resulting recommendations that Oakley released this week include several suggested changes to the formula, such as reducing the two smaller categories of funding to 20 percent each. It also called for additional funding to help implement the formula and an extended "hold harmless" time period for phasing in possible funding reductions.

The important student success side of the formula, according to changes proposed by Oakley's office, would tie that 20 percent funding stream to a more detailed breakdown of metrics based on student progression, degrees and credits earned, and wages one year after completion (see page 15 here). And the allocation tied to the number of low-income students enrolled would be broadened to include first-generation college students, according to the recommendations.

Brown is set to revise his budget plan later this month.

"The recommendations included in this document seek to balance my strong commitment to equity, our system’s focus on student success and the need to provide community college districts with time to transition so that they can reasonably carry out their work on behalf of the people of California," Oakley wrote.


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