Obama Proposes New College Ratings System

"President Obama wants to create the nation's first federal college ratings system to help students make smarter choices about higher education," CNN Money reports. "Speaking at the University of Buffalo Thursday morning, Obama said he will direct the Department of Education to publish the new system by 2015. The ratings would be based on things like graduation rates, debt rates and access for poorer students. ... Obama said he would push Congress to pass laws that would divvy up financial aid awards based on the new ratings system.Currently the federal government awards more than $150 billion in financial aid based on the number of students enrolled per college. Obama wants to change that model and tie financial aid to college value, with graduation rates, transfer rates, degrees earned and average student loan debt all playing a role. Even if Congress doesn't link the money to college performance, Munez said making the information available to students and their parents should pressure colleges to improve. ... Obama first talked about tying financial aid to school performance in his State of the Union address, leading higher education lobbying groups to raise concerns that colleges would handpick the brightest and richest students. 'Any metric that would reward or punish institutions would need to be carefully vetted to ensure it didn't have the unintended consequence of harming schools that serve a disproportionate number of low-income students,' said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators."

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