White House pushes ahead with college rating plan

May 2, 2014

The US Department of Education will proceed with its plans for a college rating system with or without the $10-million support of Congress. President Obama had instructed the Department of Education to create such a rating plan by the 2015-16 academic year, and requested the $10 million to support the initiative. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that those funds would be “beneficial” but that the plan would move forward regardless of Congress's decision. A number of questions have been raised about the ratings scheme. Critics worry that the plan, which will rate colleges based on access, affordability, and student outcomes will punish institutes that serve lower income students or prepare students for lower paying professions; others suggest that it will compel colleges to relax standards, drop degrees, or turn away at-risk students. Duncan said that the department wants to shift federal aid from colleges with poor outcomes to colleges that better prepare students for their careers. The Chronicle of Higher Education