Illinois' public colleges and universities are still trying to work with a new law that ties state funding to student performance. But it hasn't been easy to measure performance in way that's equally valid across the state's dozen public university campuses. Here's the basic idea: If a university's budget is tied to factors like what percentage of students actually graduate with a degree, the school has more incentive to make sure its kids stay on track. Illinois' program is specifically meant to reward schools that help low-income students, and those from the first generation in their family to go to college. The problem is, Illinois' 12 major university campuses have vastly different missions. Allan Karnes is a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He says one area of concern is how expensive it is to go to one school versus another:
"Big research schools, they hire really expensive professors, because they're the best in the field. Don't we want them to do that?"
Last year, Illinois set aside just one-half of one-percent of its higher-education budget for performance funding, about $6 million dollars divided among 12 campuses. For the new budget year, an advisory committee of the Board of Higher Education is recommending that percentage stay about the same. For Illinois State University that would mean an additional $50,000 in performance funding.
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