Education Department College Rating System Still Leaves Questions

Career College Central summary:

  • The U.S. Department of Education is working on a project designed to help families select the best colleges by rating more than 7,000 institutions of higher education and setting standards that will determine how much federal aid schools will receive. The Department is still working on the project’s details and hasn’t yet decided precisely how schools will be judged. According to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the ratings will take into account whether a college welcomes needy students, helps students graduate on time, and prepares them for high-paying jobs, according to Karen Weise of Bloomberg Business Week.
  • Currently the government has no way to measure how efficiently the $150 billion in college grants and loans is spent. With tuition rising and student loans surpassing $1.2 trillion, the administration will try to help answer questions about determining the value of college.
  • Janet Napolitano, who resigned as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in July to lead the University of California system, in December told the Washington Post that she is “deeply skeptical” the Education Department can create a meaningful system. According to Napolitano, choosing a college is different than “buying a car or a boat.”
  • A poll by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed found only 13% of college presidents and administrators believe that Obama’s plan is a “good idea.” According to the administration, decisions about what to measure will be made by the end of 2014. The administration has to sort out many questions, including whether college administrators will be less likely to admit disadvantaged students who need remedial classes if their federal funding depends partly on how quickly students graduate.

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