Performance-Based Funding Gets OK From Some University Presidents — With Caveats

James Henson with Texas Politics Project talks with Texas university presidents: Philip Castille, University of Houston-Victoria; Dana Gibson, Sam Houston State University; Robert Nelsen, University of Texas-Pan American; and George Wright, Prairie View A&M University at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.
University presidents from the Greater Houston region recently discussed issues they all face. One is if they should receive funding based on how well they educate students.

Texas has experimented with giving public universities extra money if they do an extra good job at teaching students.

It’s a controversial idea called “performance-based funding.”

But several university leaders recently endorsed it.

“Performance based measures are fair.”

That’s George Wright president of Prairie View A&M University.

But there are some caveats, says Philip Castille. He’s president of the University of Houston Victoria.

“I don’t mind being held to performance based funding. I just want the criteria that we’re judged by to be fair. I just want relevant standards meaningful to our students to be the criteria that I’m held accountable to.”

Castille says one measure could be how many students finish their core classes.

But Dana Gibson the president of Sam Houston State says universities can’t be judged based on just one thing. 

“That’s the tough part on picking only one thing because you do start pushing the faculty to teaching or the administrators toward that one thing that makes you successful. It’s harder to do that when you have a portfolio of things that you measure the university on.”

Right now public universities get money based on their student enrollment.

But for community colleges, state lawmakers recently decided to tie 10 percent of their budget to student outcomes like college credits.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...