Feds Should Tighten Purse Strings For Underperforming Colleges

Career College Central summary:

  • Students aren't getting what they pay for at some colleges and universities – and neither is the federal government, according to a new report from The Education Trust.
  • The education advocacy organization proposed minimum standards for access, success and quality that colleges and universities should meet in order to receive federal financial aid. More than 600,000 students attend – and billions of dollars in federal aid annually flow to – colleges with poor graduation rates and high default rates, according to the report.
  • "Students who are receiving federal financial aid to get a college education should, at the very least, be guaranteed that their school meets minimum performance standards," said Michael Dannenberg, director of higher education and education finance policy for Education Trust, in a statement. "And taxpayers providing generous financial aid and tax benefits to elite institutions, ranging from Yale to the University of Virginia, should be guaranteed that these institutions are working to correct socioeconomic inequities, rather than calcify them."
  • Dannenberg, a co-author of the report, and his colleagues identified the bottom 5 percent of four-year colleges and universities based on three measures of access, success and quality. They propose the federal government issue consequences if:
  • A college's Pell Grant-eligible full-time freshman enrollment is below 17 percent
  • An institution's six-year, full-time freshman graduation rate (the standard measure collected by the federal government) is lower than 15 percent.
  • Student loan repayment rates rank in the bottom 5 percent.

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