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Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 1:27 am

The Associated Students of the University of Montana heard about a new Montana University System funding method that would increase the quality of a student’s education, and how that education is funded, at its Wednesday meeting.

Performance-based funding would create incentive for students to pursue higher education and obtain a degree, said Zach Rogala, the MUS student regent. Universities would receive funding based on the number of undergraduate degrees awarded and student retention rates, he said.

“The goal of performance-based funding is to ensure a quality and effective educational product is delivered through the Montana university system,” Rogala said. 

Current state guidelines, regarding university funding are based on the number of enrolled resident full-time students, Rogala said.  Under that funding system, numbers matter, not quality of education, he said.  If a university’s budget is tied directly to enrollment, recruitment becomes the priority, not having students graduate, he said.   

In past years the Montana university budget was funded 60 percent by student tuition and 40 percent from the state, Rogola said. Performance funding will ideally reverse those percentages, he said.

ASUM also unanimously passed a bill to increase the special-allocation travel account by $2,000 at its meeting. The funds are designed to assist groups attending conferences, or taking trips that advance the experiences of group members. 

ASUM Business Manager, Mike Hopkins said the account now stands at $26,485 which is the largest on record for the past 25 years.

Hopkins said ASUM has 192 recognized student groups, any of those student groups can put in a request for travel funding for the fall semester. The request for travel funding form can be found at the ASUM website under the forms category and turned into the ASUM office.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Sept. 11.

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