June 19, 2012
Danny Earp, New Mexico Independent Community Colleges Director, presented the new state funding formula to Mesalands Community College staff and faculty last week. The funding formula is used to drive funding for state public institutions and is described as the “Base Plus Formula,” that is geared towards student completion and success.
“A formula does need to be modified and adjusted periodically, to make sure it’s still meeting state priorities. This is part of a national effort. The movement towards the use of outcome formulas is happening all across the country,” Earp said. “In New Mexico we have a pretty poor record of graduating students. We have many students start, but not enough are finishing. These funding incentives will basically encourage colleges to assist students in graduating.”
Earp will be retiring at the end of the fiscal year after 30 years of experience working in higher education. Lillian Montoya-Rael has been selected as his successor.
Earp said that the previous funding formula had been in place for eight years with minor changes over the years. The previous state funding formula was based on student credit hours and enrollment. Institutions received funding based on their enrollment the year prior. This was the major aspect of the formula. However, the new funding formula is based on the average of three years of enrollment.
Outcome measures were also introduced in the new funding formula. The three outcome measures that were implemented this year were: Outcome: Total Awards, Outcome: Workforce Incentives, and Outcome: At-Risk. The Total Awards Outcome is the number of two-year degrees and one-year certificates colleges awarded the year prior. The Workforce Incentive Outcome is focused on the number of students obtaining employment, locally, regionally, and statewide. In the future this information will assist community colleges in developing degrees and certificates to meet the needs of the job market in that particular population. Lastly, is the At-Risk Outcome which is focused on graduating at-risk students, or those students that are in need of financial aid.
Each aspect of the new funding formula will translate to a dollar amount that each institution will qualify for. For the first year, approximately 80 percent of the funding will be geared towards enrollment. However, future focus on outcomes will have a major impact on all community colleges, especially Mesalands.
“There are advantages to the new funding formula, especially for the state. Nevertheless, some features of the new formula may hurt the future funding for community colleges. This is due to the fact, that funding for students that transfer, short certification certificates, and the College’s impact on the national job market, is currently not taken in consideration with the new formula,” Dr. Mildred Lovato, President of Mesalands Community College said. “Community colleges across the state are still meeting to discuss how this new funding formula will impact our future.”