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The Daily Tar Heel

Board of Governors discusses changes to funding model

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story misspelled Dwayne Pinkney's last name and misrepresented his title.

The UNC-system Board of Governors' Funding Model Task Force met on Tuesday to discuss UNC’s enrollment-based funding model. The current model has been used for more than 20 years.

UNC-system President Margaret Spellings said that the meeting was not about deciding which levels of funding were appropriate.

“This is about how we will use those investments in ways that support our goals and our priorities, so this is a task force about choice,” Spellings said.

Spellings said that states like Tennessee have almost entirely switched to a performance-based modeling system, while the UNC Board of Governors is considering implementing more performance-based funding along with enrollment based.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we’re a littler later to the party, because we can learn from their mistakes,” Spellings said. “It’s time to, as I like to say, put our money where our mouths are.”

Senior Vice President for Finance and Budget of UNC General Administration Jonathan Pruitt said one of the strengths of the current UNC funding model was that it’s enrollment based.

“Campuses receive funding concurrently to student enrollment,” Pruitt said.

Dwayne Pinkney, senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration for UNC-Chapel Hill, said one of the positive aspects of the model is that it provides incentives and recognizes the varying costs that different university departments have providing instruction.

“So it's not always clear to the (University) department, that the enrollment change model funding is providing an incentive for them to grow, or change, or be different,” Pinkney said. “But for the institution, it is clear. The institution, in trying to reflect the interests of its faculty and its departments and its chairs, will make decisions that are different that doesn't ladder up exactly in a one to one fashion with the model.”

There are multiple weaknesses with their current funding model, including the fact that the enrollment model is not based on the current enrollment of a university, but rather it’s based on future projections. Pruitt said another weakness was how they applied the funding model.

“The model is the same for each campus type, so there's no distinction between research and baccalaureate institutions other than the student credit hours or the programs they offer, and they have their salaries on campus,” Pruitt said.

He also said there had been some changes to the model over the past 20 years, for instance, the general fund subsidy for summer school funding had been eliminated in 2005.

“Fall and Spring are the same, but summer school is higher because there's not a subsidy applied to it,” Pruitt said.

The meeting was concluded with various Board of Governor members remarks on their thoughts of the UNC funding model and what needed to be changed. The next UNC Board of Governor's meeting will be July 14 in Asheville, NC.

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