College Rating System Debated

The Student Government Association’s College Advocates Supporting Higher Education (CA$H) Committee raises awareness about higher education issues that directly impact the Ramapo community, especially those regarding tuition. Every other week, we will discuss a different issue facing higher education.

In order to combat rising college costs, President Barack Obama’s administration has recently proposed a college rating system. This legislation provides a rating system to help families find the best value for higher education and ties federal aid to college performance. If passed, Congress will redistribute federal student loans and grants based on a college’s rating. To rank colleges, this program will measure each college’s affordability, including tuition, scholarship distribution and student loan debt. In addition, the system accounts for graduation rates, transfer rates, graduate earnings and post-baccalaureate outcomes. Consequently, the new rating system is more objective than previous measures based on enrollment.

Many institutions oppose this plan, arguing that this college rating system fails to capture a complete picture of each college and may ultimately result in uneven treatment between traditional and nontraditional students. For example, colleges may focus their resources on first-time, full-time students rather than other types of students, as colleges will be rated based on graduation rates, which are only reported for traditional students. Thus, transfer students, adult learners and readmitted students may not receive equal attention, since resources are limited and their continuation rates are not captured in these metrics. Like any other new initiative, this program is surrounded with debate.

Do you have a problem with this college rating program or do you feel that it is a fair funding system? If you feel passionate about the college rating program, share your opinion with your political representative and make sure to vote in future elections. Also, please attend the CA$H Committee meetings on Tuesdays at 9:20 p.m. in SC 223 to learn more about pressing higher education issues.