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FGCU Prepares to Lose Millions After Calculating Projected Performance Based Funding Scores

Alo Zarate
The FGCU letters on an overcast day.

Disclaimer: All the numbers mentioned in this article and pulled from the town hall on Feb. 2 are running projections only. FGCU will receive their official PBF scores sometime in the coming spring months. 

FGCU is preparing to lose upwards of $7 million in funding from the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) after failing to meet performance goals set by the state.  

 FGCU’s President, Aysegul Timur, and her presidential cabinet held a town hall on Feb. 2 to discuss what Performance Based Funding (PBF) is and what was lost. 

 PBF is relatively new, with the PBF model being approved at the January BOG meeting in 2014. The model was designed with four guiding principles that include using metrics that align with strategic plan goals, rewarding excellence and improvement, having a few clear simple metrics and acknowledging the unique mission of the different institutions. 

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 “[The BOG] wanted this model to focus […] on excellence, improvement, and of course, one of the last things that they wanted this metric formula to really focus on is making sure that this formula helps address the unique missions of each of the institutions,” Mitch Cordova, vice president of student success and enrollment, said. 

 For a school to receive PBF, it must meet the goals set by the following 11 metrics:

 1.Percent of Bachelor’s Graduates Employed (Earning $40,000+) or Continuing their Education

2.Median Wages of Bachelor’s Graduates Employed Full-Time 

3.Average Cost to the Student (Net Tuition per 120 Credit Hours)

4. Four Year Graduation Rate (Full-time FTIC)

5. Academic Progress Rate (2nd Year Retention with GPA Above 2.0)

6. Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded in Areas of Strategic Emphasis

7.University Access Rate (Percent of Undergraduates with a Pell-grant)

8.Graduate Degrees Awarded in Areas of Strategic Emphasis 

9a. Three-Year Graduation Rate for FCS Associate in Arts Transfer Student 

9b. Six-Year Graduation Rate for Students who are Awarded a Pell Grant in their First Year

10. Number of Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded to Hispanic & African-Americans

 Ten of the metrics are standard for schools in the Florida State University System (SUS). The 11th is written by each individual school. FGCU’s Board of Trustees chose to include the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic and African American students as their 11th metric.  

 The PBF model is scored out of a 100-point scale, with metrics 1-8 and 10 being worth 10 points each, and 9a and 9b being 5 points each. Points are earned for excellence and improvement. 

 “It is these metrics owned by all of us, it is our collective work. So, everybody in the FGCU campus, everybody in the FGCU community has a role for these metrics,” Timur said. 

 PBF is made up of two different components, institutional based funding and state investment funding. 

 When a university earns a score of 59 or below, they lose 100% of their institutional based funding and 100% of their state investment funding. However, after submitting an improvement plan, they can earn 100% of their institutional based funds and 50% of their state investment funds back. This plan can only be submitted once ever.  

 If a university fails to increase their score twice consecutively, even if it is above 70, they will automatically lose 100% of their state investment funding. They then have the opportunity to submit a student success plan and, if that plan is approved, they can earn up to 50% of the original funding back. The remaining balance may be released back to a school based on how well they follow their student success plan. 

 If a university scores between 60-69, it will keep all its institutional base funds, but lose its state investment funds, and must make a student success plan to recover 50% of these funds. 

 PBF made up $26.79 million of FGCU’s 2024 fiscal year budget. Institutional based funds made up $12.25 million and state investment funds made up $14.54 million of the PBF. 

 FGCU’s most recent projected performance-based funding score was a 63, according to data supplied at an FGCU town hall event. This is not the official score provided by the BOG. If this score is accurate, FGCU will lose its state investment funding, which totals $14.6 million, but is eligible to write and submit a student success plan to the BOG. If this plan is approved, FGCU will receive 50% of this state investment funding ($7.3 million) back.  

One of the reasons for this is due to the changing of the metrics and how the benchmarks are graded.  

 “Some of the things that has been challenging for all the SUS institutions, not just us, is that the model has changed over time,” Cordova said. “What has also changed is the actual benchmark itself. For example, on metric 4 […] the threshold for scoring 10 points of excellence is now 65% for a 4-year grad rate. It used to be 50%.” 

 The money lost by the university will be redistributed among the top three scoring schools in the SUS. 

 FGCU’s presidential Cabinet is currently planning and looking for ways to mitigate the budget loss and maintain operations successfully. 

 “Every year this institution has been fortunate to have residual funding,” David Vazquez, vice president for administrative services and finance and executive director of FGCU financing corporation, said. “We, in turn, take this funding and do a lot of the capital improvements that benefit this campus, that benefit the students, that make our spaces better, that keeps our equipment upgraded, that keeps it current, keeps the campus looking neat. Well, those are the types of things that right now we’re probably going to have to say we don’t have the opportunity to do that this year.”  

 If a university scores between a 60-69 for multiple years in a row, they can continue to submit a student success plan as many times needed to receive 50% of state investment funds, but this is not ideal. 

 “We don’t want to do this two years in a row. It’s one thing to kick projects off the road for a year after a [$7 million] budget cut, it starts being accumulative. If we lose another seven or eight next year, we may not have what I’ll deem for this moment the luxury of saying ‘we’re not going to fix this, we’re not going to improve that’. The last thing we want to do is threaten the experience of our students and the quality of the work life here,” Vazquez said. 

 When talking about ways for faculty to help improve PBF scores, Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Rieger brought up encouraging struggling students to attend class, office hours and tutoring.  

 “The correlation between absenteeism and failing a class is stark,” Rieger said.

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About the Contributor
Connor Hay, Business Manager
Connor Hay is a sophomore majoring in accounting. Born and raised in Clearwater, Florida, his first experience working with media was with his high school yearbook. Hay has been involved with Eagle Media since his freshman year. When he is not working in the newsroom, he is watching Formula 1, listening to indie music, or playing pickleball.

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