'Risk Adjusted' Metrics For Colleges Get Another Look

"[W]ith the Obama administration developing a system that would rate all colleges, it’s no longer just for-profit institutions arguing for a metric based on students’ income and other demographic information," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"'You have to take into consideration the nature of the student body,' says Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, which has been vocal in advocating for such an approach. 'It’s really not reasonable,' he says, to expect the same outcomes from open-admissions institutions as from highly selective institutions with a particular student profile. Other groups and experts, including the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and several education researchers who contributed to a 2012 project called Context for Success, have endorsed the idea, too.

But the approach raises questions about stereotyping and the dangers of low expectations, so much so that David A. Bergeron, of the Center for American Progress, says the idea makes him 'queasy.' Others, like the Institute for College Access & Success, oppose it outright, calling it a dangerous double standard. ... 

The Obama administration has provided few details about the shape of its proposed college-rating system, but officials have said it would recognize institutions that enroll a higher proportion of low-income students, and eventually—subject to Congress’s approval—reward such institutions with higher levels of federal student aid."

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