Public community colleges serve a vital role in offering individuals from various social backgrounds enhanced opportunities in the labor market and subsequent financial stability. Determining how to fund community colleges in an adequate and equitable manner to achieve the desired outcomes for students is a hotly debated issue.
In Texas, the Success Points funding system calculates the distribution of state dollars to community colleges. Points are based on outcomes such as students’ successful completion of credits, transfers from two-year general education to four-year degree programs, and completion of two-year degree programs. However, performance-based funding systems such as Success Points do not take into account that the cost of reaching outcome goals will likely vary based on student characteristics and context—factors that have long been considered in K‒12 funding policy.
This webinar will highlight findings from REL Southwest’s upcoming study Modeling Costs to Inform Performance-Based Financing of Texas Community Colleges. Professor Rick Kahlenberg will provide an overview of the importance of community college for socioeconomic mobility. Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller will describe the key policy issues that led to the state’s need for community college funding reform. Researcher Bruce Baker then will present the project analysis and findings, which include a suggested formula based on empirical cost-based funding weights estimated using data on Texas community colleges. The presentation will end with a panel discussion featuring Kahlenberg, Keller, and Baker, as well as a community college president and a higher education federal and state policy expert.