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2010 NEWSMAKER: Lubbers changes higher-ed funding

J.K. Wall
December 24, 2010
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Year In Review

Teresa Lubbers ushered in a new era in higher education financing this year. But she’ll need to persuade the General Assembly to stick with it in 2011.

Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education, cut 2010 funding for Indiana’s seven state-sponsored universities by $150 million, with the most efficient schools getting smaller reductions and less efficient schools larger trims.

The commission defined efficiency mainly by graduation rates and spending per graduate. By those metrics, Ivy Tech Community College came out best and received the smallest cut in funding, 3.7 percent. Indiana State University looked worst, and therefore received the largest cut, 6.6 percent.

The goal of the performance-based funding is to curb universities’ current incentives to boost their state funding merely by signing up new students but instead to show more success at producing graduates.

Teresa Lubbers Lubbers

The percentage of undergraduates who finish in six years ranges from a lowly 43 percent at ISU to 73 percent at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. The amount of money per graduate spent by each four-year university varies from $87,000 at Ball State University to $111,124 at Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus.

Performance-based funding for universities is not brand new. But the willingness of the commission and Gov. Mitch Daniels to stick to a performance-funding formula even when taking money away from schools caught people’s attention.

“Whenever talk of budget cuts shows its head, usually any talk of performance funding is immediately put down,” said Derek Redelman, education lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

But Lubbers has shown no signs of turning back. Her agency will recommend that even more funding hinge on universities’ performance during the budget-writing process that will take place in the General Assembly in 2011.

“What it clearly makes is a statement,” Lubbers said, “that this is the direction which we will continue to recommend.”

Lubbers, a former Republican state senator and the wife of former Daniels adviser Mark Lubbers, will have her own party in full control of the budget this year. Republicans, who dominate the Senate, also took a commanding majority in the House of Representatives during the November election.•

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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