Teachers College, Columbia University

Institutional Changes to Organizational Policies, Practices, and Programs Following the Adoption of State-Level Performance Funding Policies

By Rebecca Natow, Lara Pheatt, Kevin Dougherty, Sosanya Jones, Hana Lahr & Vikash Reddy

In this paper, the authors describe findings from a large, qualitative case study of the implementation of performance funding for higher education in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. Specifically, they address ways that universities and community colleges of varying levels of institutional capacity have altered their academic and student services policies, practices, and programs to improve student outcomes and to achieve the goals of their states’ higher education performance funding programs.

Most of the academic changes identified concerned developmental education, course articulation, and ease of transfer. Most of the student services changes identified were related to advising, tutoring and supplemental instruction, orientation and first-year programs, tuition and financial aid policies, registration and graduation procedures, and departmental organization. Besides documenting main trends, the authors also analyze how interviewee responses varied by state, by type of institution (community college or university), by institutional capacity to respond to the demands of performance funding, and by position the interviewee held in the institution. Although evidence indicates that performance funding did have an impact on institutional behavior, so did other external influences concurrently seeking to improve colleges’ institutional outcomes. Thus, it is difficult to disaggregate the influence of performance funding from that of other initiatives.