UWF in the Community

University of West Florida demonstrates improvements under Board of Governors’ performance funding model

From graduation and retention rates to cost-per-degree, the University of West Florida has demonstrated vast improvement under the Board of Governors’ performance funding model.

The Board, which oversees the State University System, is scheduled to discuss the achievement Thursday, March 19 at 8:40 a.m. EST/7:40 a.m. CST and consider the final results Thursday afternoon. Live streaming and the agenda for the meeting are available through the Board’s website. Under the Board’s performance funding model, universities are rewarded based on excellence or improvement on 10 metrics from student graduation and retention to cost-per-degree.

“Our entire campus has come together to focus on supporting our students, improving our scores and positioning the University toward achieving better outcomes on these metrics,” said UWF President Judith Bense. “This is a work in progress and we will continue to place an emphasis on improving these metrics moving forward.”

The progress by the University of West Florida comes after the institution made several strategic investments designed to ensure student success, including a comprehensive, centralized unit for student support services. UWF also hired three new academic advisors and launched a summer success pilot program targeting “at-risk” students capable of raising their grade point averages.

“The Legislature and the Governor have challenged the State University System to create a performance funding model that would encourage excellent outcomes for students and for our state,” said Sen. Don Gaetz, whose support for performance funding has been unwavering. “It’s now clear that the model is working. Universities are making progress on graduation and retention rates and on preparing every student for success once they graduate.”

“Performance funding signifies a new era for our State University System, one that places a renewed emphasis on university accountability,” said Board of Governors Chair Mori Hosseini. “UWF has made strategic investments in its students, and that focus is paying off.”

“The headline writes itself: Performance funding works,” said Board of Governors’ Vice Chair Tom Kuntz. “Whether through increased communication with students or new faculty in high-demand workforce areas, UWF found smart ways to invest in its own success.”

UWF’s improvements are especially significant in the context of its previous score, which required implementation of an improvement plan to avoid losing a portion of existing funding, known as base. Under the Board’s model, universities must score a minimum of 26 points on a 50-point scale to preserve their full amount of base funding. UWF is better poised this year after raising its score from 21 to 37 points.

UWF performance funding highlights include:

– UWF demonstrated an impressive nine percent increase in its six-year graduation rate, from 42 to 51 percent.

– Student retention, measured by the number of students who enter their second year with a GPA of 2.0 or higher, is up by four percent.

– UWF has increased its percentage of students graduating in high-wage, high-demand areas, including science, technology, engineering and math (known as STEM), from 45 percent to 50 percent. Similarly, the number of students earning graduate degrees in high-wage, high-demand areas is up by four percent.

– UWF has a two percent increase in the number of students who are employed full-time or continuing their education one year after graduation.

– The average annual wage of recent graduates is up to $32,900 from $31,000, a six percent increase.