Research News

Hillman talks about performance funding for community colleges with The Voice

October 21, 2015

UW-Madison’s Nick Hillman is the co-author of a forthcoming paper in the Teachers College Record titled, “State Higher Education Performance Funding for Community Colleges: Diverse Effects and Policy Implications.”

Hillman is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and is an affiliate of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE)

The paper, co-authored by David A. Tandber and Mohamed Barakat, looks at the impact of performance-based funding programs on two-year degree completion rates among participating states.

Hillman VideoThe paper's abstract notes: "Community colleges are central to the United States’ college completion goals. A popular strategy pushed by a number of influential policy organizations and foundations is a policy of tying state funding to community college completions, otherwise known simply as performance funding. This is happening despite little to no evidence that such a strategy actually increases institutional performance."

To help people learn more about this report, the Teachers College Record's The Voice produced a short video featuring Hillman.

The ​study took data sets from 1990 to 2010 and found that performance funding is not a simple solution to improving community college completion rates. Six states actually had lower completion rates, whereas four states had greater completion rates.

​Tandber, Hillman and Barakat recommend that state policy makers seek evidence-based alternatives for improving community college completions. 

The authors write: "We conclude that performance funding is no 'silver bullet' for improving community college completions; rather, in some cases, it may interfere with national completion goals. We recommend that state policy makers seek out evidence-based alternatives for improving community college completions."