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Ball State, IU presidents meet with legislators

Kyle Stokes
StateImpact Indiana

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora says the state’s funding formula for higher education unfairly favors some schools over others.

Gora says the state’s performance funding system is a one-size-fits-all structure that favors large and growing campuses.  She says schools like Ball State – which Gora believes has focused on quality, rather than quantity – are penalized. 

She uses the example of giving funding preference to schools that produce more science, technology, engineering or math degrees – the so-called STEM subjects.  Gora says, if a student who excels in math majors in math, the school gets an extra $20,000. But she says, if they major in another area, like business, it’s a different story.

“A lot of accounting majors were good in math.  They want to major in business; they want to become a business owner,” Gora said. “Well, we don’t get that money.  We lose that money because of a good choice that that student made for themselves.”

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says he supports the new funding formula, but only if the state does its part.

“For performance funding to be a sustainable model, appropriation of new state dollars is essential,” McRobbie said, “especially at a time when investment in higher education – and its importance to Hoosiers and the future of the state – has never been higher.”

McRobbie says IU’s top funding priority is for rehabilitation and renovation dollars – essentially, the upkeep of its buildings.  The legislature chose not to provide any R&R funding in the budget passed two years ago, though the Commission for Higher Education is recommending that decision change in the new budget.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.