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FAMU Misses Out On Performance Funds, BOG Dissatisfied With School Goals

Florida Board of Governors

Florida’s 12 public universities are discussing their annual strategic goals before the state university system governing board. The move comes as the system moves ahead with its performance-based evaluation and funding system.

This year’s public university rankings saw some schools take slides and others make gains. The shift in rankings now means a shift in funding for the universities. Some will see increased funding from the state, and others won’t get anything. No school is facing the state’s new penalty program which takes money away.Board of Governors members expect all institutions to continue making progress, and Wednesday the universities presented work plans for how they want to move forward in areas like research, graduation and retention rates and cost.

Nine of the state’s 12 public universities will split $250 million in additional state funding. Those that won’t get extra state dollars are Florida A&M—which fell to the bottom of rankings this year, New College of Florida, and Florida Polytechnic University—the state’s real newest school.

Under the performance-based funding system, schools put up a portion of their base funding, the state contributes the rest. And the entire fund is redistributed according to how schools perform on an evaluation system created by the Board of Governors and state lawmakers. FAMU and New College will get to keep the portion of their base funding they put into the performance funding pool, which is worth $400 million.

As the lowest-performer this year, Florida A&M faced criticism from the BOG Wednesday. Board members say FAMU needs to re-invent itself. Members are dissatisfied with the school’s historically low graduation and licensing exam rates, and board member Norman Tripp suggests the answer could rely on recruiting more non-black students.

“I think you really need to start buying into the idea that you can be a historically black university that will stay forever, but with that you can also lead the way to diversity—whatever that amount should be," Tripp said. 

FAMU took a slide in the state’s public university rankings this year. The BOG wants FAMU administrators to present a revised improvement plan in September.

*Clarification:  Florida Polytechnic University is too new to be included in the performance funding system.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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