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Some University Officials Take Issue With Funding Formula

Michael McRobbie speaks at a budget hearing before the House of Representatives.

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora says the state’s funding formula for higher education unfairly favors some schools over others.

Gora says the state’s performance funding system is a one-size-fits-all structure that favors large and growing campuses. She says schools like Ball State, which Gora believes has focused on quality, rather than quantity, are penalized. She uses the example of giving funding preference to schools that produce more science, technology, engineering or math degrees – the so-called STEM subjects.

Gora says, if a student who excels in math majors in math, the school gets an extra 20 thousand dollars.

“But let’s say they decide to major in business,” she says. “A lot of accounting majors were good in math.  They want to major in business; they want to become a business owner. Well, we don’t get that money.  We lose that money because of a good choice that that student made for themselves.”

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says he supports the new funding formula if the state does its part.

“For performance funding to be a sustainable model, appropriation of new state dollars is essential, especially at a time when investment in higher education, and its importance to Hoosiers and the future of the state has never been higher,” he says.

McRobbie says IU’s top funding priority is for capital spending dollars to be used on projects such as rehabilitation and renovation of campus buildings. The legislature chose not to provide any R&R funding in the budget passed two years ago, though the Commission for Higher Education is recommending that decision change in the new budget.

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