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Obama’s College Proposals Land With A Thud

- August 23, 2013

The Chronicle Of Higher Education Headline: “Obama Plan To Tie Student Aid To College Ratings Draws Mixed Reviews” (Kelly Field, “Obama Plan To Tie Student Aid To College Ratings Draws Mixed Reviews,” The Chronicle Of Higher Education, 8/22/13)

 

  • “Skeptics Worried About The Unintended Consequences Of The President's Plan, Predicting That Colleges Would Seek To Improve Their Ratings By Turning Away At-Risk Students Or By Dumbing Down Their Standards.” “But skeptics worried about the unintended consequences of the president's plan, predicting that colleges would seek to improve their ratings by turning away at-risk students or by dumbing down their standards. They urged the administration to use caution in choosing the measures it will use to judge colleges. ‘You have to think about the consequences of your shame list,’ said David H. Feldman, chair of the economics department at the College of William & Mary. ‘They have to be really careful that they don't provide perverse incentives for schools to discriminate against the kinds of students’ they are trying to help.” (Kelly Field, “Obama Plan To Tie Student Aid To College Ratings Draws Mixed Reviews,” The Chronicle Of Higher Education, 8/22/13)
  • “Critics Warned That Some Of The Data The Administration Is Proposing To Use In Its Ratings Is Missing Or Incomplete.” “Other critics warned that some of the data the administration is proposing to use in its ratings is missing or incomplete. Federal graduation rates include only first-time, full-time students (though a more-inclusive rate is being developed), and data on graduates' earnings aren't currently available.” (Kelly Field, “Obama Plan To Tie Student Aid To College Ratings Draws Mixed Reviews,” The Chronicle Of Higher Education, 8/22/13)

Bloomberg Headline: “College Leaders Wary Of Obama Plan Linking College Aid To Rank” (John Lauerman, “College Leaders Wary Of Obama Plan Linking College Aid To Rank,” Bloomberg, 8/23/13)

  • As A Result Of Obama’s Proposal, “Colleges May Be Discouraged From Accepting And Giving Aid To Students From Low-Income Families Because Of The Risk That They Might Hurt The School’s Rankings, Which Would Include Graduation Rates, Debt Levels And Future Earnings.” “President Barack Obama’s proposal to tie federal student aid to college tuition and outcomes, intended to control costs and support low-income students, may have the opposite effect, some education leaders said. Colleges may be discouraged from accepting and giving aid to students from low-income families because of the risk that they might hurt the school’s rankings, which would include graduation rates, debt levels and future earnings, the officials said.” (John Lauerman, “College Leaders Wary Of Obama Plan Linking College Aid To Rank,” Bloomberg, 8/23/13)
  • Derek Bok, Former President Of Harvard University, Said “I Have To Be Somewhat Apprehensive When Any Force As Powerful As The Federal Government Undertakes The Task.”  “‘It’s a very hard job to decide on how to rate colleges,’ Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview. ‘I have to be somewhat apprehensive when any force as powerful as the federal government undertakes the task.’” (John Lauerman, “College Leaders Wary Of Obama Plan Linking College Aid To Rank,” Bloomberg, 8/23/13)
  • “Some College Presidents Said They Worry That Rather Than Reducing Costs, The Regulations Might Lead Schools To Avoid Enrolling Students Who Are Least Likely To Graduate.” “‘We would use our financial aid to attract a population that’s better prepared, financially and academically, to finish college and graduate,’ said James T. Harris, president of Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. ‘It would deter colleges from graduating more students, particularly in the middle-income and lower-income populations’ that Obama is interested in, he said.” (John Lauerman, “College Leaders Wary Of Obama Plan Linking College Aid To Rank,” Bloomberg, 8/23/13)

NPR Headline: “Polite Reception For Obama College Cost Plan Belies Hurdles” (Frank James, “Polite Reception For Obama College Cost Plan Belies Hurdles,” NPR, 8/22/13)

  • “The Obama Proposal Is Likely To Be Controversial In Academia Because It Would Create Yet Another Ranking System,” Despite The Fact That “Such Rankings Have Come Under Withering Criticism From Inside And Outside The Academic Community.”  “Let's set aside for a moment the fact that, while many of the early reactions were polite, the Obama proposal is likely to be controversial in academia because it would create yet another ranking system (move over, U.S.News & World Report). Such rankings have come under withering criticism from inside and outside the academic community.” (Frank James, “Polite Reception For Obama College Cost Plan Belies Hurdles,” NPR, 8/22/13)

Los Angeles Times Headline: “Obama’s College Ratings Plan Could Backfire” (Editorial, “Obama’s College Ratings Plan Could Backfire,” Los Angeles Times, 8/23/13)

  • Obama’s Plan “Could Harm Some Of The Students The President Most Wants To Help.”  “The United States didn't develop its great universities by reducing higher education to equations of graduation rates and job placement. Yet on Thursday, the Obama administration revealed a plan that would push colleges in that very direction and could harm some of the students the president most wants to help.” (Editorial, “Obama’s College Ratings Plan Could Backfire,” Los Angeles Times, 8/23/13)
  • Obama’s Idea Of Tying Funding Of Public Colleges To Their Ratings Is A “Destructive Idea.” “Where the president's proposal veers into reductionism, though, is by tying the availability of financial aid to those ratings. Students would find federal financial help such as Pell grants easier to obtain at schools with higher graduation rates and postgraduate salaries, among other factors. The president also will pressure states to tie their funding of public colleges and universities to the ratings. Gov. Jerry Brown proposed something like that for California's four-year college systems, a destructive idea that was fortunately squashed in the Legislature.” (Editorial, “Obama’s College Ratings Plan Could Backfire,” Los Angeles Times, 8/23/13)
  • “Such Financial Schemes Could Backfire On Students Who Already Face The Biggest Obstacles To A College Education.” “Such financial schemes could backfire on students who already face the biggest obstacles to a college education. It's not hard for schools to lower their dropout rates. The cheap and easy way to accomplish this is by accepting the students most likely to graduate — the demographics of students at high risk of dropping out are well known — and lowering academic standards so that almost no one flunks. That's not good for anyone.” (Editorial, “Obama’s College Ratings Plan Could Backfire,” Los Angeles Times, 8/23/13)
  • Obama’s Proposal Is “Not A ‘Better Bargain’ For The Nation's Hopeful Students.” “The Times recently published a profile of Kashawn Campbell, a motivated, hardworking student at UC Berkeley. Campbell is a graduate of Los Angeles' Jefferson High, a school with abysmal test scores and lower standards than schools in more affluent areas. Despite his high grades at Jefferson, Campbell has been struggling to hold on academically in college. We're cheering for him. But under Obama's blueprint, colleges would receive higher ratings — and more financial assistance — if they didn't give students like Campbell a shot at their dream. That's not a ‘better bargain’ for the nation's hopeful students.” (Editorial, “Obama’s College Ratings Plan Could Backfire,” Los Angeles Times, 8/23/13)

 

 

 


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