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Performance Funding

Kentucky’s state universities and KCTCS received state appropriations based on historical funding amounts, not performance. The Council’s new funding model incentivizes institutional success in order to meet state education goals.

Why Kentucky needs a performance-funding model

In recent years, Kentucky’s leaders allotted state funding based on each public institution’s share of the higher education budget. These appropriations did not address a campus’s capacity to help meet state education goals. To reinforce the need for an educated workforce and populace, in 2016 state leaders directed the Council to develop a funding model that binds state funding, in part, to performance.

The goals of the new model

Kentucky's new performance funding model  focuses the state's community colleges and universities on raising Kentucky's educational attainment level from 45 percent to 60 percent by 2030, as outlined in the state's strategic plan for postsecondary and adult education. Achieving this goal is critical to accelerating job creation and a stronger economy through a more highly skilled and productive workforce and educated population.

Specifically, the model’s goals are to

How the new model affects institutions

The models for the public universities and KCTCS will be phased in over three years, beginning in fiscal year 2018-19.  The model distributes funding based on three basic components:

Distribution of Allocable Funds through the Performance Funding Model

Performance funding pie chart

A hold harmless provision, which prevents the transfer of any state General Fund appropriations among institutions, is included in the first year. In the second and third year, the bill institutes one and two percent stop-loss provisions, which limit the amount of potential transfers among institutions in fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020- 21, respectively. Beginning in 2021-22, hold harmless and stop loss provisions will sunset, allowing distribution of 100 percent of allocable resources as determined by the formula.

How Kentucky benefits from a new model

Aligning state funding with college completion increases the possibility of boosting state educational attainment. An overall rise in the number of graduates maximizes taxpayers’ return on investment in higher education and translates to a more highly skilled workforce in the future.

Emphasizing on-time graduation will help reduce college costs for Kentucky’s students and families. The model gives financial incentives to institutions to produce high-paying STEM+H degrees. It also encourages campuses to take aggressive measures to close achievement gaps and better minority and low-income students as they pursue college credentials.

How performance funding helps us toward 2030 goals

Kentucky’s colleges and universities provide a wide array of programs and services to their students. Incentivizing success helps focus their efforts on constant program improvement. It also spurs campuses to innovate to produce Kentucky’s future leaders and workforce.


Learn more about Kentucky's education goals by viewing Stronger By Degrees, the Council's strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education.

Last Updated 6/15/2018