It appears state lawmakers will have the most input on a pilot project that could change the way higher education is funded in the Mountain State.

The legislature is considering what’s called performance-based funding. A group’s been studying the possibility for several months and there now appears to be momentum to have a 10-member legislative committee make the final recommendations after this year’s regular session is over.

The committee was to have several citizen members including classified staff and faculty from a few colleges and universities but state Senate Education Committee Chair Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, says the committee has a tight time-line and past experience has shown him putting citizens on a committee sometimes slows down the process.

House Education Committee Chair Mary Poling agreed during a Tuesday meeting at the capitol.

“There are challenges with having voting members on a committee that is actually voting on something that is legislative,” she said.

Plymale pointed the special interests groups would have input but just not have representatives on the committee. Ten lawmakers could begin meeting just after the regular session ends in mid-April. The recommendations for performance-based funding would be due by June 30 with the pilot project next budget year.

Currently higher education institutions in West Virginia are funded based on enrollment. The proposal would base at least some of the funding for the state’s 12 colleges and universities on outcomes. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has studied the state of Tennessee which currently bases 100 percent of its higher education funding on how the schools perform.

The legislative interim committee will have the final draft of the proposal before it for approval next month.


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