Influencing institutional change through state policy: rural community college responses to performance-based funding models
The accountability theme within higher education resonates throughout campus programming, state budgeting, and federal legislative review sessions. Most notably, the design and implementation of state-level performance-based funding (PBF) models can be found in more states than not; indeed, twenty-five states had PBF models in place as of December, 2013, with another fifteen states transitioning to or in formal discussions of this funding phenomenon (Friedel, Thornton & Katsinas, 2014). This research study has identified a gap in the current literature regarding the actual organizational impacts of PBF models on rural community colleges. In an attempt to fill the void in the available research, this study asked the primary research question: How does the leadership team describe the impacts of a mandated performance-based funding policy on their rural community college? As PBF continues to be a prevalent option for funding public higher education, it is extremely important that the full effects on institutions are understood and that appropriate planning takes place for implementation and adjustment. In particular, rural community colleges, already facing multiple challenges in their distinct role of economic, workforce and community development, require greater understanding and preparation for the potential effects of this funding option.