FGCU awarded $2.17 million from Performance-Based Funds
Christmas has come early to Florida Gulf Coast University, with a gift in the form of $2.17 million awarded as Performance-Based Funds.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Ronald Toll says, “We are very proud, and very thankful for those funds”.
This year, Performance-Based Funding was given to 11 of the 12 state universities in Florida – Florida Polytechnic University did not receive funding as it is not yet open to students. This funding came from a pool of $20 million held by the State University System’s Board of Governors, and was allocated based on a matrix of three criteria. The criteria involved the average salaries of bachelor’s graduates one year after graduation, percentage of graduates employed or continuing their education in the state of Florida within one year of matriculation, and cost-per-degree.
FGCU was awarded five out of six points on this matrix, beat only by the University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida, each of which received six points. The University ranked higher on the scale than older, more established institutions such as the University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University, both of which only scored four out of six points.
Of the 11 schools evaluated, FGCU came in second for the percentage of graduates who receive employment or continue their education in Florida – 70 percent of graduates; sixth for average salary one year after graduation – $33,000; and seventh for cost of education – approximately $30,000 per student per year.
Although the funding was announced to University representatives, including President Wilson Bradshaw and Board of Trustees Chair Robbie Roepstorff, on September 12 at the Board of Governors’ meeting in Sarasota, funds will not actually be distributed to any university until December 1. This leaves a lot of time for the Planning and Budget Council – made up of faculty representatives, staff, students, student government representatives, and the administration – to make recommendations for how the President’s Cabinet and ultimately President Bradshaw himself, should use the money. According to Provost Toll, “The funds are intended to continue supporting high levels of student outcomes,” but because the funds are a one-time instance and not necessarily recurring, they cannot be used “for salaries or programs that have longevity to them”.
For example, the money cannot be used to hire more staff or construct any buildings, because those things require a constant source of funding.
Needless to say, FGCU members are excited to have been recognized by the state with this money. “We welcome outcomes-based review, because we have very positive outcomes here that are even more impressive when you consider that we are only seventeen years old…the vast majority of institutions are far older,” says Toll.
With that age comes the “large, strong, affluent alum base” that this university is currently lacking. The oldest group of FGCU alumni are under forty years of age, and not yet in “a station of life that allows them to donate”.
This Performance-Based Funding is not the only money FGCU has received since the beginning of the academic year. After six years of constant reductions in general funding from the state, the University has had its $5.25 million of state funding restored this year. This money has been received along with $6.5 million of special legislative appropriations strongly pushed for by Southwest Florida Elected Delegates such as Senators Garrett Richter and Representative Ray Rodrigues.
So far these funds have been used to expand library hours and holdings, including both physical books and online journal subscriptions; as well as to hire twelve additional student and professional faculty advisors, and support the addition of people and hours to the writing center and the Center for Academic Achievement. Six and a half weeks into the academic year and Provost Toll has already said, “This is a fantastic year for us”. That is a good sign, especially because the Board of Governors plans to allocate funding from a pool of $50 million dollars next year, with an expansion to ten main criteria.
“For us to rank as high as we did for Performance-Based Funding, to be exceeded only by two other institutions is an incredibly strong, positive message about the dedication of our staff, faculty, and administration toward the common goal of student success.”