UF gets $1.7 million in performance funding


Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.

The University of Florida is getting $1.7 million for meeting several performance criteria, a bonus in addition to the millions it already has received for being the state's pre-eminent university and for developing the state's first fully online bachelor's degree program.

The Legislature approved a $20 million performance funding pool, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, according to criteria set by the governor.

"We worked with the Legislature to deliver a win for students and Florida universities," Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release. "Our goal for supporting students was to ensure they can find a job and pursue their dreams after school."

At its meeting at New College in Sarasota on Thursday, the Board of Governors allocated the $20 million based on a funding model that weighed 11 of the state's 12 universities based on the following benchmarks:

The percentage of students with bachelor's degrees who are working or continuing their education in Florida a year after graduation.

The median average full-time wages of those graduates working in Florida a year after graduation.

The average cost of educating that graduate by the institution.

Based on that criteria, the University of Central Florida and University of South Florida had the highest ranking, and each received $2.6 million. Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International and Florida State universities scored the second highest, and each received $2.2 million. UF and Florida Atlantic University each received $1.7 million at third.

UF fell below the other universities in the percentage of students who got employed a year after graduation. As for the other benchmarks, the average salary for graduates was $32,176, and it cost $25,028 to get a degree. UF fell behind UCF and USF in the percentage of graduates who stayed in Florida for work and reported that those students got lower wages and paid more for their education.

It's the second time in the past year that UF came in behind other state universities on a performance-based contest. UF had the lowest in-state employment rate of eight universities graded on the number of graduates with degrees in computer and information technology-related fields who had gotten work in their field of study.

The Board of Governors discussed some of the flaws in using only three metrics and didn't take into account graduates employed outside the state or graduates who are self-employed.

Board member Tom Kuntz said the current evaluation method was limited and had "unintended consequences." This is also the first time the Board of Governors dealt with the process, he said.

"Don't assume this is perfect," Kuntz said.

The members voted to expand the model to a 10-metric model that also looks at students' success in measurements such as graduation rates, retention rates and the number of degrees awarded in "areas of strategic emphasis in anticipation of additional performance funding next year."

The BOG also approved a $377 million legislative request for "critical infrastructure and additional operational funds," officials said. The request includes $50 million in new operating money to be tied to the performance measurements mentioned above and $16 million for other services and initiatives.

If approved, it would mark the second year the state university system received more money after five years of budget cuts.

"Because the state is projecting to have more one-time dollars this year as compared to recurring funds, our request is focusing on much-needed academic facilities that will help us prepare students for the new economy," Board Vice Chairman Mori Hosseini said in a news release.

Last year, the Legislature restored $300 million in funding cuts from the year before and added more than $300 million in new money for a number of initiatives — including $15 million a year to UF to recruit new faculty with a goal toward achieving Top 10 status.

But the state's universities received only $170 million of a requested $700 million for new buildings and neglected maintenance projects — leaving many projects unaddressed that are critical to the work plans of the state's universities.

UF had asked for $99 million and received $43 million — nearly $17 million for critical maintenance that had been put off for years, $15 million for a new chemistry building and $11 million for renovations to the Reitz Union.

The board also approved a $25 million bond referendum for UF to build a new dormitory on the east side of campus. The dorm will feature accommodations for students with multiple physical disabilities and is expected to be completed by 2015.

The board also confirmed the reappointment of UF President Bernie Machen as president for another year, through Dec. 31, 2014. The UF Board of Trustees gave Machen a $320,000 bonus for deciding to stay rather than step down at the end of this year, boosting his pay package from $565,000 a year to to around $750,000 annually.

And the board appointed Vice Chancellor Jan Ignash as interim chancellor as of Oct. 1, which is when Frank Brogan leaves to take over the university system of Pennsylvania. Ignash will serve while a committee appointed by Board Chairman Dean Colson searches for a new chancellor.

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