By Marion Gil |News Editor|
The New York Times reported on May 27 that American colleges may soon face government ratings that will determine how much funding they will receive.
President Barack Obama is calling for a government rating system that will rank American colleges on factors including the number of students graduating, how much debt students accumulate by the time of their graduation, and how much money they earn after graduation, according to The New York Times.
Higher ranked colleges will be given more federal student aid and will be able to offer students more financial aid, effectively drawing in more prospective students.
According to The Washington Post, by giving higher ranking colleges more federal student aid, students will be able to qualify for more grants and loans, which is something the government hopes will alleviate the burden of debt students are facing.
White House officials claim that the system will provide incentives to colleges and universities to keep down costs and broaden access to a more diverse student population.
This proposal comes in response to the economic depression of the last few years and its slow recovery, with Obama hoping that his plan will help students avoid accumulating heavy student debt, reports whitehouse.gov.
Critics of the proposal, including college presidents, have voiced concern over various possible consequences to the plan as well as criticism of the method used by the government.
According to The New York Times, many college presidents are concerned this plan will elevate financial concerns above educational concerns, punish schools with large numbers of students majoring in liberal arts and theatre, as well as other professions that typically do not make a substantial amount of money after graduating.
They are also concerned it will heavily affect schools catering to minorities and lower-income families, schools that already suffer from limited funding and whose students have little to no college preparation.
Some students also feel that this system may be unfair to schools in poorer areas.
“This rating system seems similar to the inverted pyramid. Students at higher ranked schools would be more privileged than those towards the bottom at the pyramid,” said student Jeanette Swanson.
“Thus, possibly tremendous benefits may be reaped at higher ranked schools, while there will be less available for those that were less funded,” added Swanson.
Critics are also responding to a quote by Jamienne Studley, a deputy under secretary in the Education Department, who claims rating colleges is as easy as rating kitchen appliances.
“It’s like rating a blender,” said Studley according to The New York Times. “This is not so hard to get your mind around.”
Adam F. Falk, president of Williams College in Massachusetts, feels that this rating system will oversimplify information about the colleges, and could mislead prospective students.
White House officials have stated that the president has taken all of these worries and criticisms into account and is working to improve the plan as well as reveal it by the end of the year.