Four universities split $15 million bonus tied to STEM goals
The Senate's Education Appropriations Subcommittee received an update on HB 7135, a law passed last year that requires the Board of Governors to ranks state universities on performance metrics tied to technology programs. The bill passed unanimously and quietly through both chambers in the final days of session.
What HB 7135 does: sets aside $15 million to be distributed to state universities based on goals and objectives tied to STEM education. (We don't have to spell out this acronym for you anymore do we?) Universities were judged on the percentage of graduates working in targeted industries, the number of gradutes earning technology-related certifications such as C++, and the availability of internships and business partnerships.
Only 8 of 12 state universities received scores. Florida Polytechnic doesn't have students yet. New College of Florida doesn't have the targeted degree programs since it's a liberal arts school. University of North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University opted out for other reasons.
Here is how the remaining schools were ranked:
1. Florida International University.
2. University of Central Florida
3. University of West Florida
4. University of Florida
5. University of South Florida
6. Florida A&M University
7. Florida State University
8. Florida Atlantic University.
The top four schools shared the prize equally, earning $3.75 million. The report from the Board of Governors noted that FIU was especially successful in the rankings because the school has a course specifically designed around a particular certification. It is now up to the Legislature to decide if it wants to fund the program for another year.
Gov. Rick Scott's budget proposal includes $167 million in performance pay for state universities tied to broader performance goals, such as the percentage of graduates who find jobs or continue their education, what graduates earn on average and cost to produce degrees.