University looks to change method of funding
Wednesday August 22, 2001 |
Officials seek to tailor funding request system to changing curriculum
As the UA grows and its traditional instruction methods change, officials are working to find a better way to request funding from the state.
Officials said the current formula used to request funding is based on the university's traditional curriculum and desire for equal education at a state-funded university.
"The current formula for funding depends on a census of the enrollment on the 21st day of the semester," Rick Kroc, director of the University of Arizona Assessment and Enrollment Department, said. "But in the modern age, not everyone starts on or before that day,"
Kroc said the formula can be adjusted if a possible downturn in enrollment were to occur but is not as effective if enrollment increases. If the number of enrolled students is up, the UA will receive money to compensate for those students but receives nothing for the general improvement of the university itself.
"If the university is growing and needs more money, the only way for the university to get more money is to get more students," said Matt Ortega, spokesman for the Arizona Board of Regents. "It seems a little regressive."
Ortega also said the formula, used to determine the amount of funding the UA could request, was created at a time when the purpose of the university was different in the eyes of legislators.
"Ten to 20 years ago, it was OK to get funding on how you're growing because you wanted a group of students that were learning," he said.
Ortega said the formula also does not apply to the large amount of research the university is now conducting yearly.
The formula the state uses to distribute money to UA and other state-funded schools is called the 22-1 formula. The formula gives the university funds for one full-time faculty member, a half-time support worker and a clerical position for every 22 new full-time students. The census for the formula is made on the 21st day of the fall semester.
Officials are seeking to tailor the formula to the trend of Web-based correspondence and other courses starting after the 21st day.
"The curriculum is moving rapidly where we have more classes at non-traditional times which may not be taught here on campus and the formula isn't compensating for that," Richard Roberts, UA Budget director, said.
Roberts said officials are also looking to increase the quality of course instruction to prepare for the rapid introduction of technology into the classroom.
"The census date reflects the historical view of how well we've done business, but it's not counting the idea of computers and other audio visual advancements that are available in the classroom," Roberts said.
He said modern-day opportunities of computers and the Internet are expensive, but are crucial in raising the quality of courses taught on campus or anywhere in the world.