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USF Receives Most $ in Gov.'s Performance Reward Program

Step aside, Seminoles, and get out of the way, Gators. The University of South Florida was the one of the top two schools in Governor Rick Scott's first performance-based fund giveaway to the state's universities.

Thanks to good scores in the fund's three categories, USF picked up $2.6 million from a $20 million pot. The Tampa Tribune reports the state Board of Governors approved the funding and the methodology for distributing the money to the state's 11 active public universities Thursday.

The state Legislature in the spring passed a bill requiring the board to reward universities based on the percentage of graduates employed or enrolled in further education, the average wages of employed graduates, and the average cost per graduate to the institution.

The universities received a score of 0 to 3 in each category, depending on what level they hit. USF received a 2 in each: 69 percent of their graduates were employed or enrolled in further education; the average full-time wage of a graduate who got a job within a year of graduating was almost $33,500; and the average cost per graduate to USF was just over $23,000.

USF and University of Central Florida were the only schools to post '6's.' The state's two 'pre-eminent universities' (as designated by Gov. Scott), Florida and Florida State, received 4 and 5 respectively.

“We’re very pleased that we were the highest performer on those measures,” said Mark Walsh, USF’s assistant vice president for government relations. “Any time we can collect funds based on performance, we’re happy to get it.”
With USF receiving some $200 million a year in state funding, the performance-based addition isn’t necessarily a windfall, but it’s certainly welcome, said Walsh. It’s unrestricted money, and he said administrators haven’t even considered where to spend it, adding, “We’ll have to talk about it.”

If you'd like to see a breakdown of how the rest of the state's public universities scored, click here.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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