March 15, 2011
By Kiera Manion-Fischer
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois is doing a good job of getting students into college, but not enough of them are earning degrees, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said Tuesday.
That's why she's backing a plan moving through the legislature that would link state funding to performance measures like retention and graduation rates.
In testimony to a Senate panel, Simon said the concept would create a performance-based funding mechanism for state universities and community colleges.
"I think this bill is going to move us in the direction of greater success in terms of college completion," Simon said.
The legislation does not lay out how performance will be measured. Some states measure retention rates, credits earned, time to degree completion and reductions in remedial needs, said state Sen. Ed Maloney, a Chicago Democrat who is sponsoring the measure.
"This performance-based funding is not meant to punish anybody, but rather to reward performance," Maloney said.
If approved, the Illinois Board of Higher Education will establish guidelines, in consultation with a large group of higher education interests such as universities, faculty and government groups. The proportion of how much state funding could be based on performance measurements has yet to be decided.
Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University are supporting the proposal.
The measure was sent to the full Senate Tuesday with no opposition.
The legislation is Senate Bill 1773.