The Washington Monthly‘s college rankings create a ‘reputation and reward’ system for colleges that are “recruiting and graduating kids of modest means” says editor Paul Glastris.
President Obama proposes rating colleges on tuition, student loan debt, graduation rates and graduates’ earnings so students can shop for the best value. Eventually, Congress will be asked to reward higher-performing colleges with larger Pell Grants and lower-cost loans for their students.
College costs will continue to rise, predicts an economist.
College leaders talked about how they’re cutting costs at House and Senate hearings last week.
Federal higher education funding increased 155 percent over the last decade, yet students are paying more, said House Subcommittee Chair Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican. “If government subsidies aren’t producing more affordable education in the current system, we cannot keep writing bigger checks,” she said.
College leaders don’t like President Obama’s tuition-control plan, reports AP. In his State of the Union speech, the president threatened to cut some forms of federal aid to students at colleges that raise tuition or fail to provide “good value.”
Fuzzy math, Illinois State University’s president called it.
“Political theater of the worst sort,” said the University of Washington’s head.
States have reduced higher education funding, forcing public colleges and universities to raise tuition, university presidents say.
Under the president’s proposal, colleges would be judged on “responsible tuition policy,” either by “offering relatively lower net tuition prices” or “restraining tuition growth,” reports College Inc. In addition, the Education Department would evaluate how well colleges prepare graduates to get jobs and repay student loans, and their performance in enrolling and graduating low-income students.
The aid that colleges stand to lose under the president’s plan is not the Pell grant, the largest source of federal funds to students, but rather a package of “campus-based” programs that the federal government delivers to colleges. They are Federal Work Study, an initiative that subsidizes the expenses of campus jobs for needy students at 3,400 colleges; Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, a supplement to the Pell grant that awards needy students $100 to $4,000 a year; and the Perkins loan program, which delivers low-interest loans to students.
Obama is proposing to expand all three programs to the tune of about $10 billion — enhancing the Perkins program from $1 billion to $8 billion and augmenting Work Study and Opportunity Grants by a combined $2 billion.
While some believe higher education funding should be tied to performance, Obama’s proposal would deny aid to needy students, critics charge. “Ultimately, who you are punishing with this is the students,” said Haley Chitty, spokesman for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “They’re the ones who get this aid.”
Community colleges will become “community career centers” working with employers to train 2 million Americans for skilled jobs, said President Obama in the State of the Union speech, which also promised to make college affordable for middle-class families.
States cut funding for colleges and universities by 7.6 percent in 2011-12, a new study finds. The federal stimulus money ran out and state budgets couldn’t make up the difference.
Also: More on free and cheap online college courses’ challenge to traditional higher education. It’s all about the credentials.