Obama Spells Out College-Ranking Framework
Kudos to the Obama administration for standing strong on this:
The Obama administration will spell out an ambitious college-rating plan on Friday that introduces new metrics to judge the nation's roughly 5,000 colleges and universities at a time when student debt is hamstringing the U.S. economy and the efficiency of the higher-education sector is in question.
Under the draft framework, schools may be judged on graduation and retention rates; the ability of their graduates to pay back their student loans; and the schools' accessibility to low-income and first-generation students.
The Department of Education will seek comments to weigh the pros and cons of each metric before finalizing the system before the start of the next academic year.
"The public should know how students fare at institutions receiving federal student aid, and this performance should be considered when we assess our investments and set priorities," said Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. "We also need to create incentives for schools to accelerate progress toward the most important goals, like graduating low-income students and holding down costs."
For years, the U.S. government has provided billions in grants and loans to the higher-education system, while leaving questions of its quality to others. Publications like U.S. News & World Report's annual college rankings focus largely on things like the test scores and grade-point averages of incoming students, as well as faculty quality, without assessing how much students learn and how they thrive financially after they leave.