March 8, 2017


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Performance Funding Bill Clears House A&R Committee
Headed for Full House Approval

A Positive Step for Postsecondary Investments,
But State Must Provide More Guidance for Accountability

LEXINGTON, KY — The Kentucky House Appropriations & Revenue Committee this week passed SB153, sponsored by Senator David Givens, which now moves to the full House for approval. The legislation establishes a new, comprehensive funding model for Kentucky’s public postsecondary education institutions. SB153 is an outgrowth of recommendations made last December by the Postsecondary Education Working Group tying a significant portion of state support for both 2-year and 4-year institutions to performance metrics.

SB 153 represents an opportunity to move toward a more transparent and accountable system of postsecondary education. Properly structured and adequately funded, the model can be a positive step to help close persistent attainment gaps and be a vehicle to support additional investments in the state’s postsecondary education enterprise – investments that are undoubtedly necessary to reach the state’s educational goals.

Some estimates indicate that by 2020, 62 percent of jobs in Kentucky will require some postsecondary education. Today, approximately 42 percent have some postsecondary credential and only 33 percent of working-age adults have an associate’s degree or higher.

“Having endured budget cuts of $197 million since 2008, SB153’s approach can provide a tool for helping institutions and citizens make stronger arguments about the value of postsecondary education and to expect larger and smarter investments to reach the state’s educational goals,” said Perry Papka, Prichard Committee Senior Policy Director.

While SB 153 provides a measure of transparency and accountability, the Committee believes that Kentucky’s approach to postsecondary funding model can be strengthened by additional guidance with respect to the weighting of certain accountability metrics.

Specifically, applying additional weight for low income and underrepresented students, standards for selecting priority degree fields, providing a more formal review process that involves diverse stakeholders and a commitment to transparency in making publically available the details of the funding model and its performance will all help guard against unintended consequences regarding access, affordability and quality. These accountability concerns are particularly important when considering unique missions assigned to state institutions by the 1997 Postsecondary Education Improvement Act.

“While tying funding to performance metrics will not on its own push Kentucky to its educational goals, making the case for postsecondary education through better transparency and accountability is worth the effort,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, Prichard Committee Executive Director.

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence is an independent, non-partisan citizens’ advocacy group. Comprised of volunteer civic and business leaders from across Kentucky, the Committee has worked to improve education for Kentuckians of all ages since 1983.



The Committee’s more detailed analysis of SB 153 is available at available here.  For more information on performance-based funding generally refer to the Prichard Committee’s report from the symposium we hosted in partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce – Performance & Outcomes-Based Funding: Lessons for Accountable Investment for Postsecondary Progress in Kentucky.

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