College & Workforce Readiness

Obama Push for College-Rating System Sparks Skepticism From Higher Ed.

By Caralee J. Adams — January 13, 2014 1 min read
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High school students and their families may be eager for a new college-rating system to help them find affordable, quality schools, but many higher education officials are skeptical.

President Obama first proposed a ratings system as part of a broader rollout of college affordability and accountability reforms in August. To develop measures and evaluate a college’s value, the administration has been soliciting feedback through forums and online at

Comments on the new Postsecondary Institution Ratings System have been sent in from students, counselors, teachers, professors, administrators, college leaders, and the general public. Inside Higher Ed today published emails sent to the U.S. Department of Education that it obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request.

While some embraced the new proposal, the majority of people responding to the department were critical. Much of the concern revolved around using graduates’ earnings as a reflection of college quality, noting some professions may be lower-paying, but rewarding.

Last month, a Gallup/Insider Higher Ed poll of college presidents found most are skeptical that a rating system will effectively reduce the cost of college or lead students to make more informed choices.

As the Education Department reviews the feedback and develops the system, it has asked for technical expertise from the education community. The National Center for Education Statistics is inviting ideas about data elements and metrics to be included, methods of data collection, and ways to weigh the factors in the ratings.

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.