GOVERNOR’S BLUE RIBBON TASK FORCENOTES FROM 10/17/12 CONFERENCE CALLThe Governor’s strategic goals for the state universities should inform the specific metrics bywhich the universities are measured, held accountable and rewarded. These goals include: Increasing the bachelor’s degrees awarded in strategic areas of emphasis Increasing the percentage of graduates who become employed upon graduation or who continue their education For those seeking employment upon graduation, increasing the number of graduates who attain employment at higher salary rates Continuing to identify and implement institutional efficiencies and strategies that lower the cost to graduateTuition and funding strategies need to address a variety of challenges and goals, which areoften in conflict with respect to the direction of tuition levels. The pressure to increase tuitioncomes from the desire to achieve institutional excellence and to increase national reputation,which in turn, increases the value of degrees to both graduates and their employers, translatingto higher starting salaries for graduates. Pressure to increase tuition certainly results fromsignificant reductions in base funding support from the state.The competing pressure to lower tuition results as universities strive to maintain access andaffordability for Florida taxpayers, and as a strategy to incentivize student choices andoutcomes that will not only keep current employers fully staffed, but also to attract newbusiness and industry to Florida with a talented and prepared workforce. These objectivesargue for differentiated tuition by degree or program, and perhaps even lowering tuition incertain strategic areas.To address the multiple tensions on tuition and funding, the following recommendations areput forward for consideration by the full Task Force: 1. Student Funding Support. The State of Florida should be committed to moving toward the national average of funding per student for the state universities. a. In the absence of state support, the Legislature and Board of Governors, working together, should approve tuition strategies to compensate for state funding. 2. Differentiated Tuition Structure. The Legislature and Board of Governors should move away from uniform tuition rates among the universities and among all degree programs within a university. a. Degree Programs in Strategic Areas of Emphasis (Fuller). A differentiated tuition model should be built on the establishment of specific degree programs identified jointly by the Legislature and Board of Governors as degrees in strategic areas of emphasis. Metrics for both identifying these programs and measuring their success (outcomes) would be jointly determined by the Legislature and the Board.
When an established percentage (i.e. 25%) of a university’s total number of degree offerings (or percentage of total number of yearly graduates completing one of these programs?) is attained, that university may assign an annual differentiated tuition by program with the program in the strategic area of emphasis remaining at a level below the other (nonstrategic) programs. The assumption would be that state support will remain at a sufficient base level to allow for the tuition to remain lower by comparison. A university with more than 25% of its degree programs (or 25% of its total undergraduate degree recipients) in strategic areas of emphasis will be authorized to adopt a base tuition rate equal to the average base rate of the Association of American Universities. b. Degree Programs in Strategic Areas of Emphasis (Delaney). With the authority to differentiate tuition among degree programs, within specified limits and pursuant to meeting specific metrics, each university is in the best position to determine the tuition rates designed to produce outcomes consistent with the state’s goals. Note: Board of Governors’ Degree Programs in Strategic Areas of Emphasis: The Board of Governors has previously identified undergraduate degree programs in strategic areas of emphasis. This currently includes 111 programs in STEM, 28 programs in Globalization, 21 in Health Professions, 19 in Education- critical (math, science) and 9 programs in Security and Emergency Services. Currently, 37% of all SUS baccalaureate degrees are in one of these strategic areas, with a 21% increase in the last 4 years. Growth in STEM programs is outpacing the growth in non-STEM areas. The Board is using each university’s performance in this area as a basis for decisions on allocating additional funding, whether performance funding or differential tuition requests.3. Preeminent Universities. The Legislature and Board of Governors should work together to reward “Preeminent Universities” meeting specific metrics that support the state’s goals with tuition flexibility and decreased regulation.