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TBR official discusses budget

By David Floyd
On April 13, 2014

ETSU will not receive as much funding for the 2014-15 academic year as expected due to the Tennessee Board of Regents awarding funding based on performance.
"This year, instead of supplying direct funding to universities, we had to reallocate resources based on the most current year's outcome numbers," said John Morgan, chancellor of the TBR.
To compensate, the state took the same amount of money distributed during the 2013-14 fiscal year and redistributed it based on current university outcomes.
College funding is partially regulated by the 2010 Complete College of Tennessee Act. Customarily, the law guarantees increased funding for improved performance. The CCTA uses an outcome-based formula to measure how well universities are meeting specified guidelines. There are 10 categories (or outcomes) Tennessee uses to gauge performance. Outcomes include the number of students graduating, the university's graduation rate and the number of successful transfers from a university.
The reallocation increased funding for some schools, but ETSU's allowance was reduced by about a million dollars.
"ETSU improved, but the university didn't improve as much as MTSU," Morgan said.
Because they made more substantial gains, MTSU was provided with more funding.
In a normal year, ETSU would be rewarded for even a modest improvement. However, since the state had a limited amount of money to work with, ETSU's slice of the pie was reduced to accommodate the achievements made by other schools.
To meet its economic needs, Tennessee must increase the number of employees in the work force with a post-secondary education. Currently, 36-37 percent of adults have post-secondary credentials. To fill the projected number of jobs, the state must increase this number to 55 percent.
"I would argue that 55 percent is really a bare minimum. That's the number required to fill the jobs we know about. If we think about the number of jobs we want to have, the number has to be much higher," said Morgan.
Gov. Bill Haslam has pioneered a "Drive to 55" program to speed up this process. The policy is designed to ensure that 55 percent of Tennessee adults have a college education by 2025. The government will need to produce 500,000 more college graduates between now and then to reach its goal.
This year's implementation of the CCTA has convinced many experts that the law needs amending. Core components would be preserved, but a new safeguard would be created staunching the cuts caused by reallocating money.
"If Tennessee is going to be competitive in a national economic environment, we're going to have to raise our educational attainability substantially," Morgan said.
"That was one of the underlying principles of the Complete College of Tennessee Act."

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