restricted access Performance Funding in Higher Education: Do Financial Incentives Impact College Completions?

In 2000, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education introduced a performance-based funding model aimed at increasing degree productivity among the state’s public colleges. This study examines how the new policy affected undergraduate degree completions. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy, results suggest the policy has not systematically increased degree completions within the state. With limited evidence of the policy’s effect, we conclude that this was an ineffective funding model in terms of its ability to increase college completions. Although we find modest impacts when compared against colleges in neighboring states, these impacts disappear when matched against similar colleges from other states.