PBSC Achieves Gold Level In State’s Performance Standards

Palm Beach State College has achieved the gold level in the Florida College System’s performance-based incentive program, garnering an additional $1.2 million from the state this year.

The additional dollars for earning the highest level possible bring PBSC’s total performance funding to $4.1 million this year, up from $2.9 million last year. It represents the college’s slice of $60 million in state performance funding allocated by the Florida Legislature, which includes $30 million in state performance funding and $30 million in institutional performance funding.

While all of the 28 institutions comprising the Florida College System will receive a share of the institutional performance funding, only the schools at the gold and silver levels receive a portion of the remaining $30 million in state performance money.

The gold level schools also receive shares of the state funds that would have gone to the bronze schools. The state divvies up the funds based on four measurements: retention of students, student completion, job placement and salaries of graduates. The Florida Board of Education recently approved the new performance metrics for the incentive program that became law three years ago.

Palm Beach State College, which has been silver for the last two years, is among seven schools that are at the gold level. Fifteen schools are at the silver level and six schools are the bronze level. This year, none of the colleges are in the purple category, which would require a plan for restoration.

Palm Beach State College’s achievement follows a “Go Bold for Gold” initiative launched by the administration last year to galvanize faculty and staff to help students succeed. Initiatives included enhanced advising and communication, faculty interventions, strategic scholarships and improved class scheduling.

“I am pleased and very proud of our faculty and staff for working together to improve student outcomes,’’ Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker said. “It shows what we can do when we work strategically together. Student success is our top priority.”

Performance-based funding is only a fraction of the college’s $129.9 million budget for 2017-18, and the college has to earn it each year. Richard Becker, vice president of administration and business services, said the funds will allow the college to move forward with other initiatives to increase enrollment and boost student completion rates.

“It’s a little bit easier to get the gold status than to retain it, so we’re going to be really focused on initiatives to help us retain the gold status,’’ Becker said.

Serving 48,000 students annually, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County, offering more than 130 programs on campuses in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves.