JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri colleges seeking more state money could soon have to show that the extra dough will help improve graduation rates, keep down costs and  enable the schools to be more accountable to taxpayers.

Nearly 200 college and university presidents, provosts, governing board members, state lawmakers and other higher education leaders heard preliminary details Thursday about the move to “performance funding” at an annual higher education summit convened by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The solution isn’t a new idea. Missouri was once considered a national model for its efforts to link funding of public colleges to such measurable accomplishments as graduation rates, course completion and research results. But the state abandoned that approach a decade ago amid an economic slide from which state higher education funding has yet to recover.

The approach has been embraced, however, by several states in recent years including Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

“This will move us away from a system of spending money based solely on what an institution has received in the past, to a system where we invest money in those institutions that are meeting their goals and whose students are reaching their potential,” Nixon

A task force of campus leaders from two-year and four-year schools will help develop the specific performance measures, with a report expected by year’s end. Nixon said he hopes to have the plan in place for fiscal year 2013, which begins in 11 months.

Copyright The Associated Press 



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