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2017 May 26 - 03:31 pm

2 Ark. Colleges Could Lose State Funding

Schools Fell Below Performance-Based Funding Minimums

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two Arkansas colleges will be submitting improvement plans to the state’s Department of Higher Education amid declining enrollment.

Northwest Arkansas Community College and the University of Arkansas Community College fell below the minimum score in performance-based funding, a drop that can lead to losing a portion of funding from the state.

Colleges and universities get their funding mostly from student tuition and fees, state appropriations and private donations, the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette (http://bit.ly/2pTse3N ) reported.

Northwest Arkansas Community College President Evelyn Jorgenson said the school will focus its improvement plan on student success initiatives.

“When our enrollment began to decline in fall 2012, we knew there would be a corresponding decline in degrees and certificates awarded to follow, and that is exactly what happened,” Jorgenson said. “Fewer students enrolling eventually means fewer degrees and certificates awarded.”

Tara Smith, the department's deputy director, expects the University of Arkansas Community College’s improvement plan to focus on retention efforts.

This is the fifth and final year the department will measure colleges and universities on performance. Starting July 1, 2018, Arkansas will fund higher education institutions only on “productivity,” which is measured by student success.

“Now, ultimately, they could lose money based on productivity funding, but it would be based on a different model than this one,” Smith said.

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