Driving Better Outcomes: Fiscal Year 2020 State Status & Typology Update

By Martha Snyder, Scott Boelscher and Danielle Zaragoza -

The 2015 report “Driving Better Outcomes: Typology and Principles to Inform Outcomes-Based Funding Models,” released by HCM Strategists, established a comprehensive typology of Student Success Funding (SSF) models and a state-by-state classification of funding systems according to the typology.

Updates to the report in 2018 and 2019 provided an enhanced typology informed by continued engagement with state policymakers and promising practices, a state-by-state assessment of components and funding distributions, a detailed breakdown of overall funding by sector for six states with advanced SSF models in place, and an examination of SSF polices by sector.

This report updates this information for SSF polices implemented in FY 2020. Changes in state funding systems are highlighted, including an overview of SSF models being implemented and states where SSF models have been developed or initiatives are underway. This report also includes additional information about formula metrics, including metrics meant to provide incentives for underrepresented students to succeed.

Finally, this report uses the term Student Success Funding in place of Outcomes-Based Funding (OBF). We use this term in an effort to reflect the intentions and target populations of the models in place. Across the country, state higher education agencies and individual institutions are working to align their strategic initiatives with state goals and workforce needs. Student Success Funding more clearly describes funding models that seek to allocate additional funds to build a more equitable postsecondary environment.

Considerations For SSF Typology

The classification system outlined below is used to assign each sector’s FY 2020 SSF models a “type” according to its level of sophistication and adherence to promising practices. The following critical areas have been identified and are included in the typology:

  • Established completion or attainment goals are linked to the model;
  • Recurring base funding is distributed;
  • A significant level of funding is distributed;
  • Total degree/credential completion is prioritized;
  • Institution mission is reflected through varying weights, scales or metrics;
  • The funding structure is formula-driven to ensure incentives for continuous improvement;
  • Success of underrepresented students is prioritized; and Funding is sustained over consecutive years.

View the full report: Driving Better Outcomes: Fiscal Year 2020 State Status & Typology Update

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