HB 14-1319, signed into law in May 2014, requires the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to develop a new base funding formula to allocate state general fund dollars among the state’s public institutions of higher education. The legislation charges the CCHE to engage in a facilitated process with “interested parties” and ultimately adopt funding factors for a new base-funding formula that considers both role and mission as well as performance.
This act emphasizes transparency in higher education funding and key outcomes, such as timely graduation rates, and reflects a strong desire to make this formula more understandable to Colorado taxpayers, students and families. This formula will support the statewide goals for higher education in the CCHE’s master plan Colorado Competes, A Completion Agenda for Higher Education. These goals include:
Ultimately, key goals of this 1319 project are to provide greater tuition predictability for Colorado families and to ensure an accessible and affordable public higher education system for years to come.
To achieve the best results for Colorado, and truly ensure that voices are heard and incorporated into the end result, the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) has established a projector structure and process with purpose and intent to meet the directives of the bill; to ensure that voices are heard and incorporated into the conversation; and to achieve a quality end product that can be embraced as a sound mechanism for state funding of public institutions of higher education while meeting priorities and goals of Colorado.
The bill specifically requires this to be done in a transparent manner in consultation with “Interested Parties,” which are defined in the bill as including but not limited to “the governing boards of institutions, institution administrators, higher education advocates, students, faculty, nonprofit education organizations, and members of the business community.”
As a part of this structure, three working groups of “subject matter experts” will work with our vendors directly on the three essential aspects of this project: public engagement and outreach, a study examining what's at the root of postsecondary costs, and the funding model itself. These subject matter expert teams will work at the granular level, within their subject area, to ensure a comprehensive and thorough examination of all options and ideas.
Public Education & Outreach Team – The focus of this Team will be in (1) helping Project participants and leaders understand the priorities of the stakeholders across the state and how these priorities should impact how consideration is given to the weighting of the funding model metrics and factors within the formula, and (2) educating the public about the importance of higher education to our state and our economy.
Cost Driver Analysis Team – There have been perpetual questions from the General Assembly and the Administration, as well as the public, about why higher education costs what it does. In order for informed decisions to be made regarding funding and tuition policies, we must first be able to articulate the demands on institutions – and the demands they might be placing on themselves that drive costs up - and answer these questions with clear and accurate data. This team will be charged with determining what data needs to be used to analyze institution costs – and how to tell the story that the data reveals. The analysis will likely be grouped by institution type (such as research, 4-year, and access), but the expert team will work through those details and provide the EAG and CCHE with a thoughtful analysis of what is driving costs. The results of this expert team’s work will be particularly important as tuition policy recommendations, as required by 1319, are developed.
Funding Allocation Model Team – The heart of what has been charged here is the creation of a new funding model. The bill is clear on the factors and metrics to be included, but leaves to the process how to determine the data inputs, weights and values placed on them. With the expertise of the members of this team, and the input and priorities of the public learned through the outreach process, a funding model will be created to allocate state dollars to state public institutions of higher education reflecting these priorities.
The subject matter expert teams will report to the Executive Advisory Group (EAG) - an advisory group comprised of legislators, higher education commissioners, business leaders, leaders of state higher education institutions, and student, parent, faculty and provost advocates. The EAG is charged with digesting the work that the Expert Teams have conducted; help to resolve any conflicts that may arise through the granular process; provide guidance, as necessary, to the Expert Teams for additional issues to take into consideration; and, ultimately make clear recommendations about what is best for Colorado to the CCHE for final adoption.
Lastly, the final decision maker, and the body that is ultimately responsible for adopting the final plan, is the CCHE. CCHE is the governing body that is charged with meeting the objectives and directives of 1319. CCHE will be provided regular reports on the progress of the project; resolve any conflicts that were not able to be resolved at the EAG level; provide guidance, if necessary to the EAG for issues to take into consideration; and, finally adopt the new funding model and provide a final report on the outcomes of the Project. On an ongoing basis, the CCHE will make an annual recommendation on tuition policy given the formula outputs and state policy priorities.
Through the process, from the ground up, the outcomes of this Project will incorporate the views and priorities of the “interested parties” and have been fully vetted inclusively and transparently.
All 1319 meetings are open to the public and information about date, time, and location will be posted on this page.
Across the country, many other states are having this same important discussion: What are our priorities regarding higher education? What are the needs of our economy? How do we best invest in the future of our workforce? How do we best invest in the future of our state?
According to a recent NCSL article on Performance-Based Funding for Higher Education, 25 other states have engaged in a similar discussion around performance funding for higher educaiton and five states - including Colorado - are currently in the midst of developing performance funding models. This project will examine successes and lessons learned in other states and take advantage of that knowledge.
But this conversation is about more than creating a formula. It’s about the importance of higher education as an economic and civic engine for our state.
Most people know all about the private benefits of a college degree, and how salaries climb in correlation to the degree earned.
Research also shows people with postsecondary credentials are more engaged citizens, give more to philanthropic causes, are healthier, live longer, are more involved in their children’s education, are less likely to be involved in crime and are less dependent on social welfare programs. Not only that, our state’s campuses are economic engines in their own right, generating $387 million in tax dollars, employing nearly 100,000 people across Colorado and generating an untold number of spinoff businesses.
Higher education is an economic engine for Colorado, helps to create an informed citizenry, and contributes significantly to Colorado’s superior quality of life. In order to ensure the state’s ongoing social, cultural, and economic vibrancy, funding for higher education should be based on the needs of the state, the people of Colorado, and the students. - HB 14-1319
EDITORIAL: State's new higher ed funding formula isn't quite right, Dec. 9, 2014, Greeley Tribune
EDITORIAL: Reward higher ed for performance, Dec. 7, 2014, Denver Post
UNC officials: New higher education funding formula doesn’t accurately measure performance, Dec. 7, 2014, Greeley Tribune
New formula to fund Colorado colleges on performance awaits approval, Nov. 27, 2014, Denver Post
All win – more or less – under new high ed funding model, Nov. 23, 2014, Chalkbeat Colorado
CU likely unaffected by state's new performance-based funding model, Nov. 2014, Daily Camera
New higher education funding formula could leave University of Northern Colorado out in the cold, Nov. 14, 2014, Greeley Tribune
Higher education funding discussion draws crowd, Oct. 10, 2014, University of Colorado Colorado Springs Communique
Adams State supporters speak out at CCHE meeting, Oct. 2, 2014, Adams State University
Higher education funding overhaul seeks Northwest Colorado's input, Sept. 25, 2014, Craig Daily Press, Steamboat Today
Higher ed funding discussed at outreach meeting, Sept. 24, 2014, Sterling Journal-Advocate
Have your say on how the state pays for higher education, Sept. 16, 2014, Chalkbeat Colorado
Group works on funding plan, July 25, 2014, Pueblo Chieftain
New Colorado higher education funding formula coming in December, July 21, 2014, Greeley Tribune
Higher ed system goes back to the drawing board, June 24, 2014, Chalkbeat Colorado
Kachina Weaver, 1319 Project Manager, 303-866-4030 or firstname.lastname@example.org