Much At Stake In Obama’s Proposed Ranking Of Colleges

Career College Central summary:

  • A new ratings system proposed by President Barack Obama would put more than a college's reputation at stake. The nation's colleges would be pitted against one another on measures such as graduation rates, student debt and cost of attendance under the president's proposed system, aimed at putting a rating to the value colleges provide for their tuition dollars.
  • Obama said the plan is intended to hold down the cost of college and steer federal loans and grants toward those schools that rate the best. The schools that come out on top could eventually be rewarded with a bigger piece of the federal funding pie.
  • Since the president announced his plan last year, his proposal has left some higher education leaders in Nebraska and Iowa concerned that the ratings could have unintended effects by undervaluing the colleges most dedicated to access for all types of students and by forcing tighter admissions policies that could hurt the very students they want to help. Under the president's proposal, a system would be in place for the 2015-16 school year giving families a government-backed rating system to consider when picking a college. Obama also plans to asks Congress to pass legislation that steers federal dollars toward the colleges that top the list by 2018. States also would be encouraged to fund their public colleges based on performance.
  • If the plan moves forward and legislation is passed, colleges that fare best under the yet-to-be-determined system would see more federally backed student loans and grants available for their students. Among the factors that could figure favorably into the ratings: higher average incomes after graduation, lower debt loads after graduation, higher overall graduation rates and more students who attend after receiving Pell Grants.Though the plan has drawn much criticism from colleges, advocacy groups for education reform have praised its potential to drive change and give families much-needed information.

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