College-Rating System Will Go Forward, Duncan Says

Career College Central summary:

  • The U.S. Department of Education plans to continue its push for a college-rating system, even if Congress doesn’t shell out the $10-million the agency is requesting to develop the program and put it in place. The Obama administration requested $82.3-billion for the department in the 2015 fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The amount is $1.3-billion more than the current year’s budget, an increase that is second only to the Department of Veterans Affairs. A line item in the department’s request says it would use $10-million to support "further development and refinement of a new college-rating system."
  • When Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeared before a Senate subcommittee that oversees appropriations for education on Wednesday to discuss the department’s proposed budget, Sen. Jerry Moran asked what the agency would do if it didn’t get the money.
  • "In the absence of that $10-million to be included in our appropriations bill, do you have the money and the authority to pursue this program?," Mr. Moran, a Republican from Kansas, asked during the hearing.
  • Mr. Duncan responded by saying the department would move forward with the initiative, but the money "would be very, very beneficial."
  • Last year President Obama directed the Department of Education to create a plan by the 2015-16 academic year to rate colleges based on measures of access, affordability, and student outcomes, and eventually to allocate federal aid based on those ratings.
  • Under the plan, students attending higher-rated institutions could obtain larger Pell Grants and more-affordable loans. Policy makers and higher-education officials have questioned whether the plan might have unintended consequences.

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