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Ed. Commissioner, Bloomington Lawmaker Differ on Funding

Indiana’s Higher Education Commissioner, Teresa Lubbers, told members of the State Budget Committee Wednesday to expect more funding for the state’s publicly funded colleges and universities to be based on performance.  She says increasing the number of students who earn degrees, and do so on time, will be tied to more of the dollars those schools receive from the state budget.

“Regardless of whether there is additional funding for higher education, it’s flat, or we have a decrease, we think it’s important to affirm the importance of performance funding,” Lubbers said.

Lubbers says currently performance based funding makes up less than two percent of the money schools get from the state.  She says she considers that a marginal part of their overall budgets, and wants to see that percentage increase significantly without sending shockwaves through the university funding process. But Bloomington State Representative Peggy Welch, who sits on the Budget Committee, says she does not see any money available to offer bigger budgets for higher education.

“I do not expect any real increases," said Welch.  "Hopefully we’ll be able to keep them flatlined.  And I think if we were able just to flatline them as to what they received in the budget in 2009, they would be very happy with that.”

But Welch is quick to point out state universities never received all of that money, as Governor Mitch Daniels cut education spending in an effort to keep the state solvent.

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