Update on Obama Administration’s College Rating System

More and more details are emerging from D.C. about the college rating system that the Obama Administration has made a primary focus of their higher education policy agenda.

In August President Obama issued an agenda focused on affordability and access to higher education. The President’s plan included paying for performance, promoting innovation and competition, and ensuring that student debt remains limited. The President directed the U.S. Department of Education to develop a rating system as part of his agenda to better inform students and encourage higher education institutions to improve.

The intention of the system is to compare colleges with similar missions and identify those that do the most to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those improving their performance. The goal being that the rating system would direct where future federal funds would go.

As part of the development of the system the Department is asking for the best ideas and creative thinking around three primary themes:

  • College access, such as the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants;
  • College affordability, such as average tuition, scholarships, and loan debt; and
  • Outcomes, such as students’ graduation and transfer rates, graduate earnings, and advanced degrees of college graduates

To facilitate feedback in mid-September the Department began a series of nationwide public discussions with student advocates and leaders. It is the intention of the Department in the coming months to travel across the country to host open forums, roundtable discussions, and town halls to gather suggestions. The public is encouraged to send suggestions as well via collegefeedback@ed.gov





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