If the current version makes it out of the Senate intact, the bill would lead to outcome-based payments to the state's four-year public universities.

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A bill sponsored by state Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver would link funding for state universities to the results they produce.

The bill, HB 2265, easily passed in the House last week and is now in the Senate’s higher-education committee. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland.

If the current version makes it out of the Senate intact, the bill would lead to outcome-based payments to the state’s four-year public universities. The Office of Financial Management by Dec. 1 would have to submit a report on how best to measure and reward the universities’ performance.

In the House version, universities are given points for increasing the number of graduates overall, for increasing the number of graduates in high-demand fields and for graduating more disadvantaged and minority students. The points are tallied to give each university a uniform score. State officials would then transfer a yet-to-be-determined percentage of the general fund and a half of the Education Legacy Trust Account into a special fund. Universities would get paid out of that fund according to the score they received, in addition to a guaranteed base payment. The ratio between base and reward is to be set by the OFM.

In addition, the Education Data Center in conjunction with the Employment Security Department and higher-ed officials, must compile data on how many students from each university find a job or enroll in graduate school within one year of getting their bachelor’s degrees.

The bill requires that the institutions realign course offerings to graduate more students in areas that are short on qualified workers.