President Obama’s proposal to rate colleges draws criticism

College affordability and the value of higher education are at the core of the proposed college rating system but many are questioning if it is really going to be effective at reducing costs. Educators have had the chance to voice their opinions at town hall sessions across the country, including this roundtable discussion hosted at UC Davis last month. We encourage you to join the conversation by adding your comments below.

The following was written by Karen Farkas for Cleveland.com.

Obama College Speech

Cleveland, Ohio – A wide range of students, high school counselors, professors, higher education associations and other members of the general public are skeptical of President Barack Obama’s proposal to develop a federal ratings system for colleges to the U.S. Department of Education, according to a report today by Inside Higher Ed.

Since shortly after the president announced his plan last summer, the education department has sought feedback, including holding town hall sessions on college campuses, open hearings and meetings with presidents.

The department has also been actively soliciting ideas about the ratings system electronically through its collegefeedback@ed.gov address.

The department last week released emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Inside Higher Ed.

The emails, which represent feedback submitted from September to early December, are largely consistent with the views officials heard at a series of public hearings and other meetings last year regarding the proposal, which could tie federal aid to how well colleges perform.

College leaders and especially faculty members wrote that they were concerned about how the department would factor graduates’ earnings into a rating system, worrying that such a focus does not reflect the true value of higher education. They said they were also concerned that the use of earnings data would punish colleges for producing graduates in important but lower-earning fields, such as teaching or nonprofit work, Inside Higher Ed said.

A December Gallup/Inside Higher Ed poll found that that most college presidents are skeptical that the ratings system will be effective in reducing the cost of college.

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