Congressional opposition to the Obama Administration’s
plans to develop a college rating system continues to mount. On June 11, two
House members, Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), introduced a resolution
opposing the system.
Two days later, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the ranking member of the
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said he
planned to stop the proposed rating system by attaching an
amendment to the spending bill that funds the Department of Education. The
amendment would prohibit “using any federal funding to
develop, refine, publish or implement a college ratings system.” The Administration
said it will produce a draft of the proposal for public
comment by this fall, whether it receives congressional funding or not.
The development of a new rating
system stems from the Administration’s belief that prospective students would
benefit from consumer information, such as comparison data showing the average
amount of debt incurred by students at various colleges.
In an interview on the social media
site Tumblr, Obama
criticized existing systems for evaluating colleges and said the
administration’s goal for the new system is to alert students to schools that
are “pretty notorious for piling a lot of debt on their students but not really
delivering a great education.”
Many educators, however, remain wary
of the proposed system for fear that any attempt to rate colleges will become
hierarchical, encourage inaccurate judgments about institutions or unfairly
limit their access to federal student loan funding.