Administration Announces $2.5 Million Performance Incentive Fund for Higher Education
Business leaders hail "excellence and accountability" goals for state's public colleges and universities
"The Performance Incentive Fund recognizes that a strong public higher education system is critical to our success as a Commonwealth," said Governor Patrick. "These funds provide additional resources while challenging campuses to pursue aggressive reforms."
The Performance Incentive Fund supports a competitive grant-making process to allow campuses to enact policies or create programs to help them advance the goals of the Vision Project, the state's master plan to establish the Commonwealth's public higher education system as a national leader in college-going rates, college graduation rates, student learning, success in meeting workforce needs and closing achievement gaps. The grants competition is open to all fifteen community colleges, nine state universities, and campuses of the University of Massachusetts. An external review panel appointed by Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland will review campus proposals, due on August 1, 2011.
"We've seen what a competitive grant-making process can achieve for public schools with the bold strategies already taking shape through Race to the Top," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "It's my hope that these funds will have a similar impact at the post-secondary level by simultaneously driving reform and providing the necessary resources to ensure success."
"We are truly grateful to have the Governor and the Legislature united in their support of our important mission," said Commissioner Freeland. "At a time when budget challenges abound, these funds will allow our campuses to move forward with innovative programs to improve student learning and success rates."
"This fund provides an important opportunity for performance-based innovation in public higher education," said Dan O'Connell, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. "Commissioner Freeland has reached out to the business community and established a close working relationship as we strive to make our public higher education institutions the best in the country."
With two-thirds of Massachusetts residents who remain in state now attending public colleges and universities, business leaders are increasingly interested in the quality of the institutions' academic and job training programs, which are seen as essential to the state's ability to attract new industry to the state.
"Now more than ever, employers in Massachusetts depend on our public institutions of higher education for the skilled workforce they need to fuel the Massachusetts economy," said Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. "The Performance Incentive Fund to support the Vision Project will help align the education students receive with the skills they will need to compete for the jobs of the future."
For more on the Vision Project for public higher education, please visit: http://www.mass.edu/currentinit/visionproject.asp