Saturday, July 19, 2014

Obama and college ratings

A spot-on NYT editorial – another area the Obama administration needs to stay strong:

College and university leaders have been up in arms since President Obama announced last year that the administration would soon deploy a rating system that evaluates schools based on factors like affordability, graduation rates, student earnings and how well institutions serve low-income students. Mr. Obama wants Congress to use the ratings to help guide the allocation of federal student loans and grants.

This is immensely controversial among college presidents, who have argued, unconvincingly, that such a system would elevate financial concerns above academic ones and that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to compare schools with different educational missions. Yet graduation rates, loan defaults and percentages of low-income students enrolled are extremely useful indicators of which colleges are serving their students and the country well and which are not. The federal government also has a compelling interest in getting the best possible return on its $180 billion annual investment in higher education.

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