Higher education funding represents approximately 13% (or $1.74B) of the state’s total budget. Indiana has seven public universities, each with different missions and student populations. Distributing these funds can be a somewhat challenging and politically charged endeavor.
What factors should the legislature consider when determining how much funding each institution should receive? How can you evaluate a research university like Purdue University on the same scale that you evaluate Ivy Tech Community College?
These are some of the questions our legislators face as they attempt to determine how to spend the state’s limited resources on higher education. The Commission for Higher Education helps legislators answer these questions and is charged with reviewing budget requests from public institutions and making funding recommendations to the state legislature. More details from the universities’ Nov 17-18 budget requests>>
Commission for Higher Education (CHE):
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) is an advisory 14-member public body. The CHE uses a “Performance Funding Formula” to determine the extent to which an institution is meeting various goals set out in its “Reaching Higher” strategic initiative and to develop funding recommendations for each university. The CHE’s budget recommendations serve as an important starting point for the governor and the state legislature.
CHE’s Guiding Principles:
In the Budget Committee hearing on Nov. 17, CHE Commissioner Teresa Lubbers outlined the following areas as CHE’s guiding principles:
- Support institutions whose goals and efforts are in line with Indiana’s strategic initiative for Higher Education, “Reaching Higher”
- Focus on a “productivity agenda” and the initiatives that have been funded through the Lumina Foundation for Education grants
- Remain committed to balancing their recommendations with a full understanding of the institutions’ differing missions
- Maintain a continued commitment to the Performance Funding Formula (regardless of how much money is available)
- Evaluate enrollment numbers based on the number of credit hours that students completed versus the number of credit hours that students enrolled in
- Give priority to existing repair and rehabilitation projects over requests for new capital projects
In the Nov. 17 hearing, the CHE explained that they are in the process of evaluating and reviewing each institution’s budget requests and are working diligently to develop fair, methodical and responsible budget recommendations for the state. CHE will make its official recommendations to the State Budget Committee on Dec. 14.
Budget Briefs Defined: Released in conjunction with the Open Government Initiative, the Senate Democrats are profiling State Budget Committee action and budget hearings over the next several weeks. Our goal is to provide the public with information on the budget writing process by highlighting budget requests and making the related materials from the hearings easily accessible. Learn more from our earlier post “Introducing the Budget Briefs” >>