Pay for performance coming to state universities?

LANSING, Mich. — Pay for performance may be coming to Michigan’s 15 public universities next year, a scenario in which state funding is based in part on graduation rates, number of specialized degrees and other factors, according to the Detroit Free Press.

University spokespeople say such a plan would undermine the autonomy they are guaranteed by the Michigan Constitution, the Free Press reported, while supporters say universities need to show accountability.

State universities receive some $1.2 billion in state funding; how much to tie to annual performance measures and what those measures will be has not been decided, the Free Press reported.

Gov. Rick Snyder wants a plan that will increase the number and quality of college graduates, the Free Press reported.

Seventeen states are considering university performance models, according to the Free Press. In Indiana, a state commission is recommending that 5 percent of state aid be linked to such goals as number of degrees awarded and research completed.

Michigan university officials say they’ve already cut programs and staff due to a 15 percent funding reduction from the state this year, the Free Press reported. They also said that basing state aid on such things as graduation rates would put pressure on them not to grant admission to lower-performing students.


Detroit Free Press, “State aid to universities soon could hinge on performance goals,” Nov. 20, 2011


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Top 10 Budget Recommendations,” Feb. 1, 2011