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Auditor Logo Susan Montee

Report No. 2010-88
July 2010

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Findings in the audit of Higher Education Governance Structure and Coordination

Governance structure and performance measures
The ability of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) to effectively coordinate higher education funding and academic programs could be improved. Our audit identified no correlation between the governance structure utilized by states to facilitate higher education decisions to education-related outcomes. However, no national data was available to evaluate the impact of governance structure on financial efficiency measures and the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) performance measurement efforts have not included any system or institutional goals or measures.

Funding coordination
The appropriation process for 4-year institutions is not adequately coordinated on a statewide basis. As opposed to the budget for the community colleges, which is appropriated as one and distributed in a coordinated effort by the community colleges and the CBHE, each 4-year institution's budget is appropriated separately by the General Assembly. This process allows legislators to advocate for individual institutions in their districts and allows political influence to impact funding allocation decisions. This has resulted in inefficiencies, such as individual institutions hiring lobby firms for their respective institutions at the expense of other 4-year institutions.

Funding coordination efforts
Recommendations to improve funding coordination efforts have not been implemented. In 2008, the CBHE accepted and approved the Higher Education Funding Task Force Report which made recommendations to improve the higher education funding methodology. According to a MDHE official, the methodology agreed upon by the task force has not been fully implemented because funding has been limited and because the legislature has not provided a separate appropriation for performance funding. The role of the CBHE is to coordinate higher education in the state; however, when the appropriation process encourages an uncoordinated and potentially political funding process, the ability of the CBHE to ensure funding is allocated in the most strategic and efficient manner possible is circumvented.

Degree program offerings
The CBHE has no authority to require degree program changes or eliminate programs. State law grants the CBHE the authority only to approve new degree programs at public institutions;. the CBHE cannot enforce recommendations to change or eliminate programs. In addition, MDHE staff did not adequately verify the degree programs offered by Missouri's public higher education institutions had been approved by the CBHE. We identified two institutions that had each created and offered a new program without informing the MDHE or obtaining approval from the CBHE.

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Missouri State Auditor's Office