Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Measurement and Research

Major Professor

Liliana Rodriguez-Campos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amber Dumford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.


higher education, graduation rate, retention rate, minority serving institutions


Higher education funding models based on performance have seen a resurgence over the last decade. These models, known as performance-based funding (PBF) 2.0, hold institutions accountable to outcome metrics such retention and graduation rates through the incentive of increased funding and the threat of funding cuts. This quantitative, exploratory study examined data from the Florida State University System (FLSUS) coincident to the years prior to and after the implementation of the Florida PBF policy. The primary purpose of the study was to examine what changes, if any, occurred regarding student access to or success within the FLSUS coincident to PBF implementation. The study was focused on the following groups of data (a) outcome metrics, 6-year graduation rate and 1st-year retention rate, (b) access metrics, (c) student demographic characteristics, and (d) institutional characteristics.

With a note that this study is not designed to imply causation, the following list represents the most prominent results from each data grouping: (a) The outcome metrics, graduation and retention rates, showed an upward trend at the FLSUS-level both prior to and after PBF implementation. All 10 of the FLSUS institutions had higher 6-year graduation rates in the most recent cohort under study when compared to the year prior to PBF implementation. All but one institution had a higher 1st-year retention rate. (b) In the year prior to PBF implementation only two FLSUS institutions had an average high school weighted GPA of entering students at or above 4.00. In the most recently reported cohort year, 2016, 6 of the 10 institutions had a GPA at or above 4.00. (c) The enrollment of Pell Grant recipients decreased at 7 of the 10 FLSUS institutions when the year prior to PBF implementation, 2012, is compared to the most recent reporting year, 2017. (d) Institutions classified Very High Research by Carnegie Classification showed a strong, positive, significant association between 1st-year retention rates and the access metrics GPA and SAT scores. These associations were weaker and nonsignificant for institutions categorized as High Research or lower by Carnegie Classification.