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Educational Policy Studies News

Inside Higher Ed highlights work of UW-Madison's Hillman on performance-based funding

December 27, 2017

Inside Higher Ed recently reported on two new academic research papers that are identifying some negative consequences linked to performance-based funding formulas being used in different places across the United States.

And one of the papers noted is from UW-Madison’s Nick Hillman, who has published several reports on this topic.

As Inside Higher Ed explains: “So far 35 states tie some funding for public colleges to metrics like graduation rates or degree production. And the Higher Education Act rewrite the GOP is advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives also includes aspects of performance funding by requiring that 25 percent of students at minority-serving institutions must complete in order for those colleges to be eligible for some federal funding streams.”

The report goes on to highlight a new paper from Hillman published in the journal American Behavioral Scientist that found equity problems with performance funding.

Inside Higher Ed reports that Hillman’s “paper said minority-serving institutions in states with performance formulas on average lose ‘significant funding’ on a per-student basis compared with other colleges in those states or with minority-serving ones in states without performance funding."

"These findings signal that minority-serving institutions are, on average, negatively affected by performance-based funding models and could ostensibly alter the missions of these institutions," the study concludes.

Hillman is an associate professor with the School of Education's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He studies higher education finance and policy, and his research focuses on how policies affect educational access and success. Hillman also is a faculty affiliate with UW-Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs, and is a Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) faculty affiliate.

To learn more, read the Insider Higher Ed report online: “Negative Findings on Performance-Based Funding.”

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