How one university used bonus funding to incorporate state performance targets into their budget model

As states tie more and more of their funding to credit hours, degrees granted, and other measures of student success, growing numbers of colleges and universities are giving their academic units financial incentives to help the institution hit those targets.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has taken an interesting approach. They utilize a modest-but-effective bonus structure that didn’t require overhauling the core budget model.

They have also focused on individual departments, not just the colleges. The resulting system effectively balances (1) differences in departmental resources and missions, and (2) the need to hold all departments accountable for the same set of targets to ensure department activities align with the institution’s broader goals.

Creating an incentive fund to meet performance targets

UW-Eau Claire began by collecting 25 metrics across nine categories: financial sustainability, development, tuition, student progression, course availability, student interest, student demographics, advising, and high-impact experiences.

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