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August 20, 2013

State rewards Blinn for students’ academic achievement

College awarded $4.29 million in state funding based on student success points

The state of Texas is rewarding Blinn College for its students’ success.

Dr. Dennis Crowson, vice president for Student Services, presented a report to the College Board of Trustees at its regular meeting Tuesday night detailing how Blinn earned $4.29 million in state funding due to the academic achievements of its almost 18,000 students.

Blinn was awarded $22.74 million apiece for Fiscal Years 2014-15, an increase of almost $1 million per year over the College’s allotment in 2012-13. Blinn was awarded $19.84 million annually from contact hour funding and $2.14 million due to student success points accumulated from 2010-12.
Prior to the start of the 83rd Texas Legislature, the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board jointly recommended a new funding system for community colleges divided into three key components – core operations, student success points and contact hour funding. After each Texas community college district receives $500,000 per year for core operating expenses, the remaining funds are awarded based upon student contact hours (90 percent) and student success points (10 percent). Previously, funds awarded after core expenses were based solely upon contact hours, with some additional funds awarded based upon extenuating circumstances, such as the opening of a new campus.

“The new student success points model recognizes that community college students enroll with different levels of college preparation and different goals,” Crowson said. “In response, it rewards colleges for not only awarding students degrees/certificates or transferring students to four-year universities, but also recognizes intermediate steps along the way, such as completing developmental work and reaching college credit benchmarks.”

The system awards half a point for students who complete developmental reading/writing courses or pass their first college reading or writing course, and one point for students who complete a developmental math course, pass their first college math course or reach 15/30 college credits. Schools are awarded two points for students who transfer to a university after completing 15 semester credit hours or earn their degree/certificate. Each college is awarded 2.25 points for students who earn a degree/certificate in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) program.

To account for fluctuations, a three-year average (2010-12) was used for appropriating student success funds. Blinn averaged 23,172 points, good for 11th out of the state’s 50 community college districts. Each college to accumulate more points is based in a large urban community such as Dallas, Houston or Austin.

Crowson said Blinn continues to examine methods of increasing its student success points, including increasing the number of students who earn degrees or certificates. One proposal includes eliminating the need for students to complete a degree application; instead, the College will analyze student records and automatically award degrees to qualifying students. Crowson said that system could be in place as early as this Fall.

Founded in 1883, Blinn’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its four campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its workforce education, technical training and vocational education programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.