OBF EQUITY TOOLKIT: LEVERAGING OUTCOMES-BASED FUNDING TO SUPPORT EQUITY
[Toolkit Series 4] INSTITUTIONAL AGENCY: IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND THE SUCCESS OF UNDERSERVED STUDENTS WITH OBF
Institutional Checklist for Effective Response
THE OBF EQUITY TOOLKIT provides practical lessons on how states, systems, and institutions work to address equity in the development and implementation of OBF policy. Broken into four Series focused on equity challenges in distinct phases of the OBF policy process, the Toolkit contains short, individual modules that focus on specific topics and provide lessons learned and recommendations for policymakers and institutional leaders to consider. Content is derived from in-depth study of six states (Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, and Kentucky) and 13 institutions in them. See the Research Methods section of the Overview for more information.
This research was conducted in coordination with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Opinions reflect those of the authors, not necessarily those of the Foundation.
THIS MODULE addresses equity in OBF at the institutional level as outlined in our OBF Equity Overview. It will help state policymakers and institutional leaders consider:
Strategies used by institutions to navigate OBF policy reform; and
Strategies used by institutions to improve outcomes for underserved students.
How institutional response to OBF can improve outcomes for underserved students
States often adopt OBF as part of a plan to improve student outcomes and increase higher education attainment rates. This goal cannot be accomplished without institutions doubling down on their efforts to serve students, particularly those historically neglected by higher education. Yet institutions that serve a high number of underserved students often have the fewest resources and least capacity to respond to state policies or to improve student success. For a more complete discussion on how states can support institutions during the transition to OBF see, Module 3.1: Identifying the Capacity Needs of Disadvantaged Institutions to Increase Outcomes Under OBF, and Module 3.2: Strategies for Supporting Institutions During OBF Implementation.
When institutions do have the resources to change administrative practices or implement new student success strategies, it can be difficult to determine which course of action will deliver the best return on their efforts. The following checklists were drawn from conversations with institutional leaders and administrators at 13 institutions serving low-income and other marginalized students. The lists include examples of what institutional leaders believed were effective ways to engage with OBF policy. This list provides a starting point for institutions to navigate the transition to OBF, take stock of institutional practices, identify barriers to student success, and strategically align institutional efforts to better serve students.
LESSONS FROM THE FIELD
In transitioning to OBF, institutions provided examples of strategies for navigating policy reform and improving student outcomes. This section outlines a range of approaches.
Navigating the transition to OBF
When states adopt OBF, institutions are often uncertain about how best to navigate the transition. Table 1 lists effective strategies as described by institutional leaders.
Table 1. Institutional strategies for successfully navigating the transition to OBF
Strategies that may increase success for historically underserved students
Table 2 displays institutional student success strategies that emphasize the success of underserved students. These strategies have the potential to yield resources through OBF funding formulas as they improve student retention and outcomes.
Table 2. Institutional strategies for improving student success and completion