Obama plans to use rankings, federal aid to incentivize campus innovation

August 22, 2013

US President Barack Obama announced a set of proposals yesterday that aim to make PSE more affordable and accountable by linking funding to institutional ratings. According to a draft of the proposals obtained by the New York Times, institutions would be ranked based on measures like tuition, graduation rates and percentage of low-income students who attend. It goes on to say that starting in 2018, the ratings would be tied to financial aid, so that students at higher rated institutions might get larger federal grants and more affordable loans. In the proposal, Obama also urges institutions to experiment with other approaches that reduce cost, such as competency-based degrees, online education in the form of MOOCs, 3-year enrolment programs, or dual enrolment programs in which high school students can begin to earn university credit before they graduate. The president also plans to offer waivers to institutions that serve as “experimental sites” offering such innovative programming and initiatives. New York Times