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A new policy brief finds that 29 states currently tie some share of state funding for public colleges to student outcomes, such as graduation rates. Many of these state funding formulas also reward colleges for serving low-income students and students from underrepresented minority groups.

The brief was published by InformEdStates, a nonprofit clearinghouse for policy analysis and research. Its authors include Robert Kelchen, an associate professor of higher education at Seton Hall University; Kelly Rosinger, an assistant professor of education at Pennsylvania State University; and Justin Ortagus, an assistant professor of higher education administration and policy at the University of Florida.

The project, which has been in the works for two years, is an attempt to develop the first comprehensive data set on how performance funding has evolved. Several policy briefs will follow this initial release, which highlights the evolution of formulas in Missouri, New York and Tennessee.

"By providing details about the history and mechanics of three states’ PBF systems, we hope to spark conversations among policymakers and researchers about the importance of identifying and understanding the nuances of funding policies across states," the brief said.

Future papers will attempt to track the impact of these policies on student access, success, loan debt and labor market outcomes.

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