The Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund (VP-PIF) is an annual, competitive seed grant program designed to launch and/or scale effective strategies and collaborative partnerships among the Commonwealth's public higher education campuses to advance the Vision Project goals of national leadership in key outcome areas:
COLLEGE PARTICIPATION Raising the percentage of high school graduates going to college—and the readiness of these students for college-level work.
COLLEGE COMPLETION Increasing the percentage of students who complete degree and certificate programs.
STUDENT LEARNING Achieving higher levels of student learning through better assessment and more extensive use of assessment results.
WORKFORCE ALIGNMENT Aligning occupationally oriented degree and certificate programs with the needs of statewide, regional and local employers.
PREPARING CITIZENS Providing students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be engaged, informed citizens.
CLOSING ACHIEVEMENT GAPS Closing achievement gaps among students from different ethnic, racial, gender, and income groups in all areas of educational progress.
And the advancement of OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES.
The Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund, or Performance Management Set-Aside Line (7066-0025), was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in FY2012.
Grants are awarded to individual campuses or regional consortia through a competitive process open to the state's 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and five UMass campuses. VP-PIF funds are also used to support a small number of projects to improve overall system performance, collaboration, and efficiencies. All new grant submissions are reviewed by DHE staff as well as a panel of external education experts.
From FY2012 through FY2014, the program committed three years of seed funding to each project—100% in Year 1, 66% in Year 2, and 33% in Year 3, subject to state appropriation—with the expectation that long-term sustainability would be supported by the campuses. With recent declines in the VP-PIF appropriation, grant making has been greatly reduced. In FY2015, campuses were only offered continuation grants for previously funded projects. FY2016 funding allowed for the introduction of only three new campus grants and four new systemwide grants.