Performance Funding Open-Forums

Dear Colleague:

After nearly a year of discussion about performance funding across the Montana University System (MUS), it is now time to design incentive- and outcome-based metrics for allocating a portion of state funding for the next legislative funding cycle. Please consider attending one of the upcoming open forums to actively contribute to the development of metrics that align with our campus mission and emphasize UM’s high quality education.

Friday, March 21, 10-12, UC 327
Wednesday, March 26, 3-4, UC 327
Thursday, March 27, 2-3, UC 327

Background on Performance Funding in Montana

As a part of the Governor’s College Affordability Plan to freeze resident tuition, the MUS entered into a memorandum of understanding to incorporate a performance funding component into the allocation model used for distributing funds to the campuses. The overarching goals and objectives of performance funding in Montana are described at MUS Performance Funding Initiative – Goal and Objectives.  The MUS will allocate $7.5 million (or 5 percent of the state appropriation to higher education) to campuses in FY2015 based on progress made toward increasing college completions and student retention rates, which constituted the metrics in the short-term performance funding allocation model. The purpose of linking funding to performance goals is to reward innovation that improves the educational outcomes of our students and increases the overall educational attainment of Montanans. The amount of state funding that will be appropriated to higher education performance funding for FY2016 and FY2017 will be determined during the next legislative session (beginning in January 2015).

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Performance Funding For 2014-15

The FY15 share will be allocated according to the short-term model developed last spring. The allocation model for FY16 and beyond is currently under development; your feedback and suggestions can influence the outcome- and incentive-based metrics that will drive that model. The long term model will be different for our 2-year, 4-year, and doctoral campuses to promote mission differentiation and to encourage innovative, institutional-level strategies.

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What happens now?

UM and MSU are collaborating on this effort for the doctoral institutions and are seeking input from all faculty and staff to develop a long-term performance funding model that meets the state’s primary objectives of improving student learning and attainment outcomes. Working groups of faculty and administrators from each of the MUS campuses developed a series of draft metrics to serve as a starting point for broader discussions.  Your input to help determine the pertinent metrics is needed now. The doctoral institutions will propose a short list of metrics to the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Board of Regents (BOR) for consideration at the May BOR meeting. These metrics will be used in the funding allocation formula that will be developed in the months following the May BOR meeting.

What can you do to influence the outcome?

Review current summaries and evaluations of other states’ experiences with Performance Funding.

Visit and participate in one of the open forums (March 21, March 26, or March 27) to discuss the metrics on the draft list or suggest additional ones.  A website providing the list of potential metrics and other communications will be developed and share with the campus soon. Please consider this list a straw man or starting point to initiate discussion.  To reiterate, at this time, no metrics have been selected for the long-term model.  The Commissioner of Higher Education and the Regents desire your input in designing metrics that meet the goals, objectives and missions of our campuses.

There are alternative options if you cannot attend a open forum, including posting comments and ideas to an online forum , or sending an email to: (

Thank you for participating in this process,

Perry Brown, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs,
Liz Putnam, Faculty Senate Chair, and
Dawn Ressel, Associate VP  Planning, Budgeting and Analysis