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Student Attainment and Outcomes Based Funding

As state funds continue to tighten and legislatures shift their focus toward results, more states are tying higher education funding to outcomes rather than head count. According to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates (Signature Report No. 8a), overall six-year completion rate for first-time-in-college degree-seeking students who started college in fall 2008 was 55.1%, and gains from completions elsewhere were higher for traditional-age students than for delayed entry students and adult learners. In addition, a large gap between overall completion rates of traditional-age students and older students (adult learners completion rate was 17 points lower than that for the traditional-age group, 42% and 59% respectively).

Understanding these dynamics as they are coupled with varying market positions and enrollment patterns at each institution translates into different strategies for enrollment services. Operations in the financial aid, registrar, admissions, orientation, and bursar's offices must adjust to accommodate current enrollment trends in higher education, individual institutional enrollment patterns and state funding models to support institutional outcomes.
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by Jim Anderson, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services at Boise State University