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The Obama administration's plan to rate colleges based on their access, affordability, and student success measures actually just continues the administration’s focus on trying to fix higher education by regulating existing colleges and ignores the sector’s fundamental supply-side problem.
In response to President Obama's plan to promote college affordability through a federal college ratings system, AEI's CHER team analyzed where universities lie in terms of access, affordability, and student success. What did we find? Few colleges perform poorly on all three measures, but hardly any perform well on all three, either.
In response to President Obama's plan to promote college affordability through a federal college ratings system, AEI's Center on Higher Education Reform analyzes the current higher education environment to see where universities lie in terms of access, affordability, and student success.
As colleges face mounting student applications, there is little incentive to create new, open seats, let alone seats specifically for low-income students. Yet, with changing demographics, it it becoming even more important to ensure that low-income students are given an equal opportunity to dance.
Faux exclusivity might be good for a school’s endowment or parents’ bragging rights, but it too often encourages families to overpay for education. Applicants may be better served by interactive college guides that let students search according to lifestyle and learning preferences. Nobody wants to walk into Walmart and pay top-shelf prices for store-brand merchandise.
In the most recent Education Outlook, AEI scholar Rick Hess and Taryn Hochleitner explain how the inflation of college rankings contributes to a false sense of exclusivity and rising tuitions.
The number of schools ranked highly in guides such as Barron's Profiles of American Colleges is increasing, without any evidence that these schools' instructional quality is also increasing. Applicants and their families should be wary of letting these rankings serve as the main criteria in their college decisions.
Armed with better data, the theory goes, students and parents will vote with their wallets, putting pressure on low-performing colleges to improve while avoiding direct government intervention. But these provisions are not working nearly as well as intended.