LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday signed into law a bill that calls for a restructuring of Arkansas’ funding formula for higher education.
Hutchinson signed House Bill 1209 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, now Act 148 of 2017. The measure directs the state Higher Education Coordinating Board to adopt a funding model for colleges and universities that would distribute money based on certain outcomes rather than enrollment levels.
Hutchinson said last year he wants the state to adopt an outcomes-based funding formula for state colleges and universities. He also said that if Legislature approved the revamp, he would seek a $10 million funding boost for higher education for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The measure Hutchinson signed Wednesday does not provide all the details of the planned funding formula but does set out goals for which schools will be rewarded, such as improving degree completion, serving under-represented students and improving affordability.
“This new formula will be based upon student progress rather than student enrollment,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “This shift in focus will encourage and empower our students to successfully attain their degree, license or certificate in a timely manner”
The state Department of Education will develop the funding model and submit it to the Higher Education Coordinating Board for approval. The Arkansas Legislative Council will have to sign off on the model before it can be implemented.