TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NSF) - Chipola College, the second-smallest institution among Florida's 28 state colleges, was the top-ranked school in an annual evaluation tied to performance funding.
The school, which serves about 3,100 students in Marianna, received the highest point total in the state's performance assessment, which measures colleges on issues such as retention of students, graduation times and job placement.
The assessment is important because it will guide the distribution of $30 million in state performance funding to schools in the academic year that began July 1. The state money is combined with $30 million in funding from the colleges to create a $60 million performance-funding program.
In Chipola's case, by reaching the top performance tier, which is known as the “gold” colleges, the school will receive a total of $752,000 in performance funding in 2017-18, including more than $473,000 in state funds.
Chipola was one of seven state colleges to reach the gold level this year, an improvement over last fall, when only three schools reached that level.
Santa Fe College and Valencia College remained at the gold level and were joined by five schools, including Chipola, that improved enough from last year to rise from the second tier, known as “silver” schools, to reach the highest level.
The other gold schools were Palm Beach State College, Eastern Florida State College, Seminole State College of Florida and South Florida State College.
Lake-Sumter State College dropped from the gold level last year to silver this year. It was joined by 14 other silver-level colleges that will receive a portion of the $30 million in state performance funding, ranging from $4.4 million for Miami-Dade College, the system's largest school, to about $196,000 for North Florida Community College.
Florida SouthWestern State College rose from last year's “bronze” level, where the schools do not receive state performance funding, to the silver and will receive about $782,000 in state funding this year.
Six schools fell into this year's bronze category, meaning they will not receive any share of the $30 million in state performance funding but will be able to access shares of their own “institutional” performance funding.
Hillsborough Community College and Pasco-Hernando State College fell out of the silver category into this year's bronze. The other bronze colleges were College of Central Florida, Pensacola State College, Polk State College and Northwest Florida State College.
Pensacola State and Polk State improved from last year's “purple” rating, where they received no state performance funding and had their institutional funding frozen until they showed improvement.
On the performance metrics, the 28 schools generally performed well on starting salaries for graduates and for graduates either moving into jobs or continuing their educations.
But the schools faced more significant challenges in retaining students from year to year and in graduating them in a timely manner.
Valencia had the highest retention rate, measured at 69 percent for students who returned for another year in the fall of 2014 and Northwest Florida State College had the lowest rate at 56.6 percent.
In graduation time, Santa Fe had the highest rate of students earning two-year degrees within three years of their enrollment at 78 percent in 2013. Pensacola State had the lowest rate, at 38 percent.
The performance metrics were part of a higher-education policy debate during the 2017 legislative session, with Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, pushing for a more-stringent measurement of graduation times for state college and university students. But the performance changes died when Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the policy bill (SB 374).
Here is a list showing how much money each college will receive. The first number is a total of state and institutional performance funding, with the state portion listed in parenthesis.
Santa Fe College: $2.6 million ($1.63 million)
Eastern Florida State College: $2.99 million ($1.88 million)
Chipola College: $752,000 ($473,417)
Palm Beach State College: $4.1 million ($2.58 million)
Seminole State College of Florida: $3.1 million ($1.9 million)
South Florida State College: $1.1 million ($672,246)
Valencia College: $5.8 million ($3.65 million)
Broward College: $4.46 million ($2.23 million)
Daytona State College: $2.55 million ($1.27 million)
Florida SouthWestern State College: $1.56 million ($781,577)
Florida State College at Jacksonville: $3.88 million ($1.94 million)
Florida Keys Community College: $355,000 ($177,720)
Gulf Coast State College: $1.13 million ($562,885)
Indian River State College: $2.5 million ($1.25 million)
Florida Gateway College: $668,000 ($334,174)
Lake-Sumter State College: $713,000 ($356,633)
Miami Dade College: $8.75 million ($4.4 million)
State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota: $1.3 million ($636,272)
North Florida Community College: $391,000 ($195,613)
St. Johns River State College: $997,000 ($498,307)
St. Petersburg College: $3.5 million ($1.76 million)
Tallahassee Community College: $1.6 million ($814,735)
BRONZE COLLEGES (these colleges do not receive shares of the state performance money):
College of Central Florida: $555,707
Hillsborough Community College: $1.7 million
Northwest Florida State College: $480,000
Pasco-Hernando State College: $802,000
Pensacola State College: $876,476
Polk State College: $772,393
Source: Florida College System/Florida Department of Education
Information provided by The News Service of Florida.