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Deal names Higher Education Funding Commission

Deal names Higher Education Funding Commission

October 13, 2011

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that he has formed a higher education funding study commission through Executive Order. The commission will serve in an advisory capacity and will examine how the funding formulas for the University System and Technical College System should be changed in order to improve higher education outcomes in the state.

“The work of this commission will help us ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used to boost our No. 1 tool for economic development: a talented, highly educated workforce,” Deal said. “We have assembled a strong group representing every region in the state to do this work, and I look forward to receiving its recommendations.”

Georgia spends approximately 11 percent of the state budget and approximately two-thirds of the lottery funds on providing access to college.

The commission’s recommendations will focus on how to incentivize college completion through performance funding and other mechanisms.

“The current funding formula is based on student enrollment but not student completion,” Deal said. “It rewards institutions for increasing the number of students but does not consider whether or not institutions are successful in educating those students. I want to incentivize college completion.”

The commission may also review existing components of the higher education funding formulas, which were originally developed in 1982. The commission shall provide recommendations to the governor by Dec. 1, 2012.

By 2018, more than 60 percent of job openings in Georgia will require some form of postsecondary education. However, less than a quarter of full-time students at two-year colleges graduate. For public four-year colleges, only 44 percent of students graduate within six years. To meet this need, the state of Georgia needs strong university and technical college systems to prepare its students to be career-ready upon graduation.

The members of the commission are as follows:

Representing the University System of Georgia:
Mr. Hank Huckaby, Chancellor, University System of Georgia
Mr. Don Leeburn, Jr., At-Large Member, Board of Regents
Mr. Philip Wilheit, Sr., At-Large Member, Board of Regents
Dr. Bud Peterson, President, Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. Gary McGaha, President, Atlanta Metro College
Dr. Ron Core, Vice President for Business and Finance, Georgia Southern University
Dr. Sandra Jordan, Provost, Georgia College and State University
Mr. James Taylor, Student, University of Georgia
Mr. Kevin Vantrees, Student, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Representing the Technical College System of Georgia:
Mr. Ron Jackson, Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia
Mr. Otis M. Raybon, Jr., 11th Congressional District, State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia
Mr. Michael Sullivan, 7th Congressional District, State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia
Dr. Anthony Parker, President, Albany Technical College
Dr. Ray Perren, President, Wiregrass Technical College
Dr. Mindy McCannon, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Mr. David Weldon, Vice President of Administration, Gwinnett Technical College
Mr. Alvie Coles, Student, Ogeechee Technical College

Representing the Georgia House of Representatives:
Chairman Terry England, Appropriations Committee
Chairman Len Walker, Higher Education Committee
Chairman Tom Rice, Motor Vehicles Committee

Representing the Georgia Senate:
Chairman Jack Hill, Appropriations Committee
Chairman Buddy Carter, Higher Education Committee
Chairman Johnny Grant, Public Safety Committee

Representing the Business Community:
Mr. Chris Klaus, CEO, Kaneva
Ms. Alexis Balkum, Vice President of Learning and Development, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Representing the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget:
Debbie Dlugolenski, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and State Chief Financial Officer

The Commission will be co-chaired by the two Higher Education Chairmen, Walker and Carter.

This commission is being formed as part of Deal’s focus on college completion, and the Complete College Georgia Initiative is an important piece of Deal’s broader Georgia Competitiveness Initiative. In August 2011, Georgia was one of 10 states that won the $1 million Completion Innovation Challenge grant. Thirty-three states applied for the 18-month implementation grants for innovative, high-impact college completion initiatives designed to enhance student success and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. Georgia’s application focused on restructuring remediation programs. Complete College America received funding support for the grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.