As Education Department officials fan out across the country to hear feedback on the administration’s proposed college rating system, the associations that represent colleges are starting to stake out firmer stances against some parts of the plan, reports InsideHigherEd
“After offering a relatively restrained response early on, higher education associations are beginning to more clearly articulate their concerns about the administration’s ratings plan, even
though it’s still not clear what such a ratings system will look like. President Obama in August proposed that colleges be rated based on metrics measuring their affordability, accessibility to low-income students, and student outcomes. The administration plans to publish those college ratings by the 2015 academic year and eventually persuade Congress to allocate federal student aid based on how institutions perform.
“The department holds the last of its four public hearings Thursday at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. But officials have been meeting privately with student advocates, college presidents and other stakeholders.
“The leaders of private nonprofit colleges gathered in here last week, in part, to map out their response to the proposed ratings system and meet with department officials.
“David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said the college presidents on his board were in agreement in principle with the administration’s goals but took exception to a federal ratings system. Continue reading “Worries about fed college rating system”
President Obama began promoting a plan in August to rate colleges on their value and affordability and to tie those ratings to the $150 billion in financial aid that the federal government supplies each year.
Should Mr. Obama’s plan come to pass, value would not just be a selling point for colleges, it would be a matter of life and death. But there is no agreement on how to measure the value of a college, and there is no agreement, or anything even close, on what value is in the first place, opines The New York Times:
“It’s a quest for the holy grail,” said Judith Scott-Clayton, a professor of economics and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “It sounds good, it sounds like something we’d love to know, to be able to rank the value of these institutions, but when it comes down to practicalities, it’s very, very difficult.”
“U.S. News and World Report, whose academic rankings have long been derided — and obsessively followed — by college presidents, now publishes “best value” lists as well. Princeton Review, which has advised decades of prospective students on the best party schools, more recently began listing the best value schools, too. Forbes Magazine got in the is-it-worth-the-money game too, as did, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The Alumni Factor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Payscale, a company that gathers data about the job market.
“Some of these analyses approach value as largely a function of cost: How much is tuition? What subsidies are available? Others define it as return on investment: How much do graduates earn? Some factor in student satisfaction or academic ranking or graduation rates or economic diversity, all in varying quantities. These widely divergent definitions produce wildly divergent results. Continue reading “Ranking colleges by value”