With the advent of outcomes-based funding policies, state policymakers are increasingly committed to basing public college and university funding on how institutions perform on valued measures such as program progress and degree completion. This rising emphasis is considered here in the historical context of three earlier state funding approaches: “base-plus” approaches, enrollment-based formula funding approaches, and early performance-based funding approaches. After detailed reviews of these funding approaches and the newer outcomes-based approach, the four models’ respective strengths and weaknesses are reviewed comparatively. This paper then identifies some central conclusions for policymakers in this arena.

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